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