Berlin: Visions of the Past

I was looking over my old travel photos from Europe this week. Whilst viewing some 2005 shots of Berlin, Germany I thought it may be interesting to see what the same landmarks and buildings looked like in 1945 at the end of World War Two. A very stark contrast from 60 years later!

The Reichstag (German Parliament) falls to the Soviets Berlin 1945

The Reichstag (German Parliament) falls to the Soviets 1945

Reichstag (German Parliament) 1945

Reichstag post war 1945 (photo source: Ghetto Fighters House Archives)

Reichstag German Parliament Berlin

Reichstag 2005

Brandenburg Gate 1945 Berlin WW2

Brandenburg Gate 1945

Brandenburg Gate 2005 Berlin Germany

Brandenburg Gate 2005

Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) 1945

Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) 1945

Berliner Dom 2005

Berliner Dom 2005

From 1942 onwards the Allied forces had crushed the Third Reich with around the clock bombing (which destroyed around 70%-80% of the historic buildings in Germany) and then finally the Battle of Berlin (April 16th, 1945 – May 2nd, 1945). By May 8th, 1945 a full military surrender had been signed by Nazi Germany.

Soviet tanks roll through a Berlin in ruins 1945

Soviet tanks roll through a Berlin in ruins 1945

Soviet Victory in Berlin 1945

Soviet Victory in Berlin 1945 (Photo Source: German Archives)

At the end of the war Germany was a rubble strewn country. The nations war machine was crushed and Berlin lay in ruins.

Berlin 1945 bomb damage

Berlin 1945

It is said there was more than 400 million cubic meters of rubble in West Germany alone! Much of the rubble in Berlin was used to rebuild the city. Some of the rubble piles also ended up becoming man-made hills within the city.

Cranes on the horizon - Berlin reconstruction goes on

Cranes on the horizon – Berlin reconstruction goes on

The reconstruction process for Germany began fully in 1948 but the city was not truly rebuilt until the 1980’s. Despite this, anyone who has visited Berlin in recent years can tell you it is still a city under construction (especially it seems in East Berlin where old Communist era buildings are gradually being replaced). Today Berlin is a dynamic, happening place but the old scars of the city will always remain.

A reminder of the past: Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtniskirche - war memorial Belrin Germany

A reminder of the past: Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtniskirche – war memorial

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4 thoughts on “Berlin: Visions of the Past

  1. Sadly this is happening to some parts of the world at the moment, bringing invaluable ancient sites into rubble. If only we could learn. Anyway, nice post on one of the European cities that has been on my wishlist for the longest time.

  2. Pingback: Warsaw: Visions of the Past | Deano Around The World

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