Welthauptstadt Germania, “World Capital Germania” refers to the projected renewal of the German capital Berlin during the Nazi period, part of Adolf Hitler’s vision for the future of Germany after the planned victory in World War II. Three years before the end of WWII, in 1942, Hitler said, “Berlin will be comparable as a world capital only to Egypt, Babylon or Rome.”
Albert Speer, the “first architect of the Third Reich”, produced many of the plans for the rebuilt city in his capacity as overseer of the project, only a small portion of which was realized between the years 1937–1943 when construction took place.
Some projects, such as the creation of a great East-West city axis, which included broadening Charlottenburger Chaussee (today Straße des 17. Juni) and placing the Berlin victory column in the centre, far away from the Reichstag, where it originally stood, were successfully completed. Others, however, such as the creation of the Große Halle (Great Hall), had to be shelved owing to the beginning of war. A great number of the old buildings in many of the planned construction areas were, however, demolished before the war and eventually defeat stopped the plans.
The first step in these plans was the Berlin Olympic Stadium for the 1936 Summer Olympics. This stadium would promote the rise of the Nazi government. A much larger stadium capable of holding 400.000 spectators was planned alongside the Nazi parade grounds in Nuremberg but only the foundations were dug before the project was abandoned due to the outbreak of war. Had this stadium been completed it would remain the largest in the world today by a considerable margin.
Speer also designed a new Chancellery, which included a vast hall designed to be twice as long as the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles. Hitler wanted him to build a third, even larger Chancellery, although it was never begun. The second Chancellery was destroyed by the Soviet Army in 1945.
Almost none of the other buildings planned for Berlin were ever built. Berlin was to be reorganized along a central 5 km-long boulevard known as the Prachtallee, “Avenue or Boulevard of Splendour(s)”
At the northern end of the avenue on the site of the Königsplatz (now the Platz der Republik) there was to be a large open forum known as Großer Platz with an area of around 350.000 square metres..
Towards the southern end of the avenue would be a triumphal arch based on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, but again, much larger; it would be almost a hundred metres high, and the Arc de Triomphe (at the time the largest triumphal arch in existence) would have been able to fit inside its opening, evidently with the intention of replacing the rather long history associated with this Arch and in particular the unique ceremonies, with reference to the history of France, connected with it . As a result of the occupation of Berlin by Soviet troops in 1945, a memorial was constructed with two thousand of the Soviet dead buried there in line with this proposed ‘Triumphal Arch’. It had been intended that inside this generously proportioned structure the names of the 1.800.000 German dead of the First World War should be carved, that which presumably was known to amongst others the Soviet leaders.
At the time of the initial invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa) in June 1941, Hitler expected to win victory in World War II by 1945, and he then planned, after completing the construction of the Welthauptstadt Germania plan, to hold a great World’s Fair in Berlin in 1950.
If Hitler’s plans had been realized, Berlin’s historical centre would have forever been destroyed.