Architecture and infrastructure projects carried out during Adolf Hitler’s reign in Germany surprise researchers to this they with their ambitiousness and sheer scale. Construction of some of those mega structures continued until the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.
National geographic has compiled a list of the most grandiose mega structures of Nazi Germany that remain to this day.
Fuhrer’s headquarters ‘Wolf Den’
This military complex was one of Hitler’s most important headquarters during WWII. It was built in 1941 in Eastern Prussia (Poland nowadays) in an isolated area – ideal for its main purpose. Only an insignificant portion of the once massive complex has survived to this day. During the war, this military structure housed 2,000 high-rank Nazi officers and staff.
Thuringia underground factories and tunnels
To prevent valuable infrastructure from being damaged in bombing raids of allied forces, the Third Reich started the construction of underground production plants and other economically important objects in Thuringia federal land. Prisoners of concentration camps manufactured military vehicles in those plants.
Air defence tower
During WWII, one of the primary means of defence for the Germans was the use of enormous air defence towers known as Flakturm. Three of them were built in Berlin. Only two remain to this day. Flakturm III is located in Humboldthain Park.
Hitler Youth training camp “Fogelzang”
In 1936 Fogelzang training camp was built on the border between Germany and Belgium. This training camp was established specifically to train the next generation of Nazi leaders. This enormous complex with complicated architecture and sculpture elements is currently in the state of decay. In 2006, the complex ended up in the hands of the German government. It is now open for visitors. It covers a total area of 50,000 m2 in North Rhine-Westphalia. The government faces a major problem – what to do with this remnant of Nazi ideology?
Dachau concentration camp
The Dachau concentration camp, located approximately 16 km to the north of Munich, is evidence to one of Nazi’s most terrible crimes. The concentration camp began its terrible ‘function’ in 1933. Initially, it was intended for political criminals. Later on, however, it became a transport hub through which prisoners were being carried to Auschwitz and other death camps. Although officially Dachau was not a death camp, it claimed more than 30,000 human lives. Nowadays, the main purpose of the camp is to serve as a monument to those who died there.
Bomb shelter near Anhalter Railway Station in Berlin
This shelter is one of many protective structures that were built in Germany during WWII. Initially the complex consisted of five floors and could house 12,000 people. Nowadays one of the floors serves as a horror room with ghosts. Another floor houses a torture and medicine museum and the lower floor is dedicated to the history of this shelter.
Nazi resort Prora
Prora remains the largest hotel in the world. Unfortunately, 70 years after its completion, the hotel remains empty. The hotel near the sea offered 10,000 rooms for guests. This enormous hotel complex was built throughout 1936-1939. It is a fine example of architecture of the Third Reich. The intention of the Nazi leaders was to fill the hotel with German labourers, who would rest there on weekends. In addition, Prora was considered a great place for Nazi propaganda.
National Socialist Party’s congress territory
What is particularly interesting about this project is that Albert Speer, Hitler’s chief architect, who had designed a number of structures of the Third Reich, had imagined how it would look like if it ever turned to ruins before starting this project. This odd design method, which chiefly aimed at imagining how the next generations would see the building, is not unusual for our time as well. It was however a new way of thinking in the 30s.
The German government stood before a difficult choice – allow the historically important structure to fall into ruin or spend enormous amounts of money to restore a complex that is synonymous to some of the darkest pages in Europe’s 20th century history.
Eagles of the Third Reich in former Nazi territories
Although allied forces tried to make sure all symbols of Nazi regime were destroyed in Germany and former occupied territories, some of the iconic eagle sculptures with and without swastikas have survived to this day. Such sculptures are seen above the Tax Inspectorate building on Bismarck Street in Munich. Six eagles remain seated on historic structures of the now closed Tempelhof airport.