Germany / Landmark
The New Reich Chancellery was an administrative building erected for Adolf Hitler as Führer and chancellor of the German Reich.
The New Reich Chancellery was designed by Adolf Hitler’s chief architect, Albert Speer, and was erected between 1938 and 1939, with additional construction continuing even during the war. It was meant to serve as a replacement of the Old Reich Chancellery, whose façade faced the Wilhelmstraße and which had been used by the chancellors of the German Reich since 1871. The New Reich Chancellery was a typical representation of the Nazi architecture, with a neoclassical façade, long halls, vast rooms with high ceilings and a colossal cabinet decorated with red marble, palisander and pau rosa wood. During the war, the Führerbunker was added to the bunker system of the New Reich Chancellery, which was constructed for protection against Allied air raids. The damage to the building was only minor, and it remained generally intact during the war.
The bunkers successfully served as hospitals and shelters for hundreds of soldiers and civilians during the Battle of Berlin. The New Chancellery itself was, along with the building of the Ministry of Aviation, one of the headquarters of the Berlin central defence area Z. It was defended by the last SS guard units. Despite the later Soviet depictions of ‘heavy fighting’ in the building itself on 1 May 1945, it is, according to contemporary Soviet sources and modern historical research, highly possible that these events did not occur. The remaining SS and Führerbunker personnel left the premises on the same day, while the actual fighting occurred in the former Gestapo headquarters a few hundred metres down Wilhelmstraße.
After the war, the building, being a symbol of the Nazi dictatorship, was demolished by the Soviet and East German authorities from 1949 to 1956. Various decorative elements were either given to museums or other state institutions around the world, or were stolen or lost. Some of the latter were retrieved in the 21st century. Today, the space of the former New Reich Chancellery is occupied by former East German apartment buildings and some office buildings on its former Western side.