Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

Back to main blog

RSS thingy

Jane's Blogosphere: blogtrack for Natalie Solent.


( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

The Old Comrades:

November 2001 December 2001 January 2002 February 2002 March 2002 April 2002 May 2002 June 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 October 2002 November 2002 December 2002 January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 August 2007 October 2007 February 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 March 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 October 2009 January 2010 March 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 April 2011 June 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Friday, March 10, 2006
Nazi buildings.

I have in front of me a book of extracts from Signal, the colourful magazine extolling the virtues of Nazi Europe that Goebbels had distributed all over occupied Europe and elsewhere. Signal had an English language edition aimed at the US and Ireland and also sold in occupied Jersey and Guernsey.

I'm looking at an article called "The New Reich Chancellery". It says
On 11th January 1938, the Führer commissioned Prof. Speer, Inspector-General of Building Construction, with the erection of the New Reich Chancellery ... During the remaining 9 months fixed for its completion, the Inspector-General and his staff of architects, artists, workmen and artisans from all provinces completed this work, which represents the Reich in modern classical form.
Copious illustrations are provided. This website shows similar pictures. You can find more pictures by doing an Image Search but not all the websites hosting them are as respectable as this one, produced by Professor Randall Bytwerk of Calvin College, Michigan.

The crimes of the Nazis are such as to make one hope there is a hell. They can be made not one whit worse by the fact that I don't care for the skimpy square pillars at the front of Speer's project (the overall effect is a bit like Walthamstow Town Hall, only not as impressive.) Nor are their crimes made one whit less dreadful because Speer's "Long Hall" (called "the marble gallery" in the Calvin College link) looks rather nice. If it hadn't been dismantled by the Red Army it might have made a pleasant place for a cup of tea in the afternoon - and Speer was still a willing tool of tyranny.

Although there are interesting things to be said about the way dictatorships build, in moral terms it doesn't matter how good or bad Nazi architecture was. To condemn a style because Hitler approved of it is as cheap a shot as to condemn vegetarians because Hitler approved of vegetarianism. I can see why they sandblasted out the swastikas in 1945 but if by any chance they missed any, I'd say leave them in place on grounds of historical interest. Although the juxtaposition of the words "Nazi" and "architecture" can still stir passion and controversy sixty years on, I thought that none of this would disturb my Olympian cool...

...but even I was disturbed by the idea of a Nazi church. The photo is not online but the print edition of the Times shows a carved font with a stormtrooper standing next to Jesus. Apparently the church was in use until a few years ago, so I presume babies were baptized in it until recently.