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Old June 29th, 2017, 09:58 PM   #1961
Saxonia
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Braunschweig had one of the biggest timber-framed old towns in Northern Germany. Only fragments have survived until today. Its pre war appearance sure has to be considered "lost". Besides rebuilding was done in a pretty harsh way. Destroying many of the surviving buildings, including the damaged but reparable castle.
But at least the churches were reconstructed and most of the grid was preserved (though often widened). Thats the difference to another large old saxon city named Magdeburg, where many damaged churches were blown up by the communists.


Braunschweig May 1945


https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/F...1945_USAAF.jpg
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Old June 29th, 2017, 10:16 PM   #1962
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Thanks for the information and for the picture! I think this shows just how marvelous the city must have been before the war, if after such a bombing campaign and a mediocre reconstruction effort it still looked beautiful to me. In any case, its center looked on par, if not better, to all the medieval/old towns I've seen in England, many of which did not suffer from bombings on a similar scale.
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Old June 30th, 2017, 09:24 PM   #1963
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Dresden






Kreuzschule







Georgplatz





Bürgerwiese. Palais Oppenheim









Schemm Haus. The corner of Zinzendorfstraße



Zinzendorfstraße

Städtische Höhere Mädchenschule





Hotel Hospiz





Prinzenpalais











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Old July 1st, 2017, 06:36 PM   #1964
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Dresden






Albrechtstraße

Hotel de Saxe





Handelskammer





Künstlerhaus



Zirkusstraße. Residenztheater



Albrechtstraße



Landgericht





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Old July 1st, 2017, 09:07 PM   #1965
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Hamburg. Altstadt






















Bildindex / DF / HB
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Old July 1st, 2017, 09:22 PM   #1966
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What strikes me after looking at all these pictures, as well as pictures of modern German cities, is how some of them completely changed their character following the war destruction, while others, despite being heavily bombed, remained in spirit if not in flesh their old selves.

Frankfurt for example was completely changed after the war; I (being ignorant at first) was completely surprised to learn a couple of years ago that Frankfurt had before the war one of the most extensive medieval/renaissance old towns in Europe. I associate(d) the city so much with its financial power, its skyscrapers and its transportation role that it never crossed my mind that this city could once have looked so differently. And to be honest, while the war losses were of course tremendous, it seems to me that the city feels and fits quite well in its new clothes.

Dresden was fundamentally changed too, but there, unlike in Frankfurt, it seems to be that the change was much more painful and fitted much less with the city's spirit. In many ways, the recent reconstructions have given Dresden back its beautiful and grandiose character, past which the city has never grown.

On the other hand, you have cities like Munich or Hamburg, which seem to me to have retained their character, despite extensive destruction during the war. Munich with its old town and churches and beer halls, and Hamburg with the sober, towering buildings along the water canals.

It's just my impression, I could be wrong, but I do feel that various cities in Germany have adapted differently to their postwar architectural, cultural and societal landscape.
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Old July 1st, 2017, 11:04 PM   #1967
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Hamburg


























Bildindex / DF
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Old July 2nd, 2017, 08:00 AM   #1968
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On the other hand, you have cities like Munich or Hamburg, which seem to me to have retained their character, despite extensive destruction during the war. Munich with its old town and churches and beer halls, and Hamburg with the sober, towering buildings along the water canals.
If Dresden had somehow been apart of West Germany (or the country was never divided in the first place), I think we would have seen more of a Munich-esque reconstruction, given its high standing as a city of culture. Unfortunately, it was apart of the GDR, and was thus largely reconfigured as 'an ideal socialist city' – something very much evident today.
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Old July 2nd, 2017, 07:22 PM   #1969
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Yes, I don't think anything could of survived the firestorm that engulfed Dresden. I think that if it had experienced destruction more on the scale of Leipzig, it might have been restored more totally and would still be regarded as one of the world's most beautiful cities today.

I think people get too caught up in whether it was justifiable to bomb Dresden in general, and fail to consider the ferocity of the bombing as a factor. Personally, I believe Dresden was a viable military target. If the Allies thought that attacking it would bring them on inch closer to winning the war, then go ahead. But I also believe the bombing was massively disproportionate, and the city should not have been bombed anywhere near as heavily as it was. We hear accounts of the airmen being shocked at the sight of the firestorm from the air, but the government were under no illusions and knew exactly what they had ordered their airmen to do.

If they had so decided, Leipzig could've been reduced to a smouldering heap overnight.
Yes, but in the case of Dresden, it was not only a matter of intensity, but timing. In February 1945, the outcome of the war was essentially deter,mined and such a mission was almost pointless, other than sheer retribution. There is no resource or strategic commentary that I have seen that suggests May 7 would have been delayed had Dresden not be so brutally destroyed. Had the Dresden bombing been done a year earlier, one could credibly argue its strategic military purpose, but not in mid February 1945.
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Old July 3rd, 2017, 02:43 AM   #1970
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Yes, but in the case of Dresden, it was not only a matter of intensity, but timing. In February 1945, the outcome of the war was essentially deter,mined and such a mission was almost pointless, other than sheer retribution. There is no resource or strategic commentary that I have seen that suggests May 7 would have been delayed had Dresden not be so brutally destroyed. Had the Dresden bombing been done a year earlier, one could credibly argue its strategic military purpose, but not in mid February 1945.
This is essentially what I said. The bombing was justified but its intensity was not, regardless of timing. If the industrial district had been bombed in 1945, there would be no controversy, as it really is all down to the fierceness of the bombing that actually happened. It was total war. The attack disrupted transport, sure, but it also destroyed everything else. If the train lines and marshalling yards had been bombed, more or less the same result would have been achieved. But Dresden was destroyed under the policy of 'terror bombing', something that is thankfully now a war crime.

But to be fair to the Allies, they had no way of knowing how close Germany was to collapse, and they actually expected the Nazis to retreat to the Alps and make their final stand there. To them, the fall of Berlin, however close, might not mean the end of the war.

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Old July 3rd, 2017, 11:47 AM   #1971
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If Dresden had somehow been apart of West Germany (or the country was never divided in the first place), I think we would have seen more of a Munich-esque reconstruction, given its high standing as a city of culture. Unfortunately, it was apart of the GDR, and was thus largely reconfigured as 'an ideal socialist city' – something very much evident today.
I'm not so sure of that. In West Germany you do indeed have some good examples of rebuilding, like Munich and Hamburg, but there are also a lot of bad examples, like Cologne, Stuttgart, Frankfurt etc. I wouldn't be so sure that Dresden would be among the better examples, especially given the complete destruction that occured there. They would of course not turn it into a socialist paradise, but West Germany had some absolutely hideous post war projects as well. You also see those in many parts of Munich.

After all we can be glad the Neumarkt area of Dresden lay dormant for so long and is only being reconstructed now. By now people seem to slowly realize how precious classic architecture and classic European city planning is. We probably got more and closer reconstructions in Dresden now, then what we would have got, if the city was rebuilt decades earlier.
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Old July 3rd, 2017, 12:08 PM   #1972
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I'm not so sure of that. In West Germany you do indeed have some good examples of rebuilding, like Munich and Hamburg, but there are also a lot of bad examples, like Cologne, Stuttgart, Frankfurt etc. I wouldn't be so sure that Dresden would be among the better examples, especially given the complete destruction that occured there. They would of course not turn it into a socialist paradise, but West Germany had some absolutely hideous post war projects as well. You also see those in many parts of Munich.

After all we can be glad the Neumarkt area of Dresden lay dormant for so long and is only being reconstructed now. By now people seem to slowly realize how precious classic architecture and classic European city planning is. We probably got more and closer reconstructions in Dresden now, then what we would have got, if the city was rebuilt decades earlier.
This is true. To an extent, the economic stagnation in the GDR perhaps offered the best odds of faithful reconstructions, as so much of these cities were open spaces until reunification.

In some cases, like in Dresden, filling these voids post-reunification resulted in wonderful reconstructions.

In others, valuable opportunities were missed. Chemnitz is the best example of this. The city centre was moved post-WWII, and when the old core was redeveloped they essentially filled it with large scale shopping malls. The results speak for themselves, and I've heard it said that Chemnitz is probably one of Germany's ugliest cities. The situation in Madeburg is almost as bad and probably just as irreversible.
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Old July 3rd, 2017, 12:13 PM   #1973
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I'm not so sure of that. In West Germany you do indeed have some good examples of rebuilding, like Munich and Hamburg
As an aside, was the rebuilding in Hamburg really that good? I've never been, but my impression was that they salvaged what they could but filled most of destroyed spaces with modern buildings. Was there any active reconstruction of certain districts/important structures?

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there are also a lot of bad examples, like Cologne, Stuttgart, Frankfurt etc
I always found the general mediocrity of Stuttgart's reconstruction to be such a shame, given its beautiful geographic location amongst those rolling green hills. The German practice of removing Stucco seems to have been pretty widespread in Stuttgart as well, unfortunately. Prewar Stuttgart would have been something special I think – a real fairytale city so close to the Black Forest. Still holding out hope for the reconstruction of its Rathaus, given that the entire back end of the building is still the preserved original; it's only the facade facing the Marktplatz that is any different. .

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Old July 3rd, 2017, 04:20 PM   #1974
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This is true. To an extent, the economic stagnation in the GDR perhaps offered the best odds of faithful reconstructions, as so much of these cities were open spaces until reunification.

In some cases, like in Dresden, filling these voids post-reunification resulted in wonderful reconstructions.

In others, valuable opportunities were missed. Chemnitz is the best example of this. The city centre was moved post-WWII, and when the old core was redeveloped they essentially filled it with large scale shopping malls. The results speak for themselves, and I've heard it said that Chemnitz is probably one of Germany's ugliest cities. The situation in Madeburg is almost as bad and probably just as irreversible.
If you compare the western german cities with the former eastern german cities, you can find very good/bad examples in both directions.

What about ugly western cities like Pforzheim, Hamm, Ludwigshafen, Kassel, Wolfsburg, Heilbronn, Offenbach ?

On the other Hand, former GDR-cities like Wismar, Schwerin, Leipzig or Dresden belong to the most beautiful cities/towns in Germany.
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Old July 3rd, 2017, 06:14 PM   #1975
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As an aside, was the rebuilding in Hamburg really that good? I've never been, but my impression was that they salvaged what they could but filled most of destroyed spaces with modern buildings. Was there any active reconstruction of certain districts/important structures.
In my opinion Hamburg is still a very beautiful city with that certain Northern European grandeur, that you will find in well preserved British or Scandinavian cities. Many parts of Hamburg still boast lots of beautiful, old architecture and then there are parts that were rebuilt in pleasing and interesting looking modern architecture, often with a local flavor (like brick), and then there are parts that have a nice blend of both old and new. All these parts together form a very appealing Gesamtbild in my opinion. In hardly any other German city, actually in no other German city, would I ever argue, that modern buildings in between historic ones can actually look good. In Hamburg they often do.
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Old July 3rd, 2017, 06:17 PM   #1976
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But to be fair to the Allies, they had no way of knowing how close Germany was to collapse, and they actually expected the Nazis to retreat to the Alps and make their final stand there. To them, the fall of Berlin, however close, might not mean the end of the war.
For another thread, but they were very much aware that the European war was 'won' by mid February and the details of final skirmishes and surrender were just clean up. And without an army, the Nazis (whoever that might be?) would have been doing nothing.
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Old July 3rd, 2017, 06:45 PM   #1977
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I'm not so sure of that. In West Germany you do indeed have some good examples of rebuilding, like Munich and Hamburg, but there are also a lot of bad examples, like Cologne, Stuttgart, Frankfurt etc. I wouldn't be so sure that Dresden would be among the better examples, especially given the complete destruction that occured there.
[...]
After all we can be glad the Neumarkt area of Dresden lay dormant for so long and is only being reconstructed now. By now people seem to slowly realize how precious classic architecture and classic European city planning is. We probably got more and closer reconstructions in Dresden now, then what we would have got, if the city was rebuilt decades earlier.
It is a very hypothetical discussion. One thing we know is, that in contrast to the Soviet Zone, rebuilding in West Germany highly depended on decisions of local authorities. Which led to very different results.
I truely believe that a non communist Dresden would have been among the best rebuild cities in Germany (given the scale of destruction). Hardly any city in Germany identified itself so much with its architecture and appearance than Dresden. Thats why its destruction was such a huge shock although every clear thinking person should have known that an attack was only a matter of time.
So with a democratic city government after 1945, we probably would'nt have had such a detailed reconstruction of the Frauenkirche or single baroque buildings at the Neumarkt. But all in all a much more appropriate rebuilding in general. No complete redrawing of streets and squares (private property) and no demolition of so many churches (10!). The conservationists in Dresden constantly warned and protested against the communist rebuilding, yet with little success.
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Old July 3rd, 2017, 07:50 PM   #1978
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In western German cities, the outer appearance of churches was generally recovered, esp. of the bigger and valuable ones. So Frauenkirche would definitely have been rebuilt. But many prophane buildings probably not. I'd expect a cityscape similar to Würzburg or Nuremberg, or in the best case like Münster or Freiburg, concerning the grade of reconstruction. These cities also identified heavily with their cityscape. But so did Hildesheim and Braunschweig, which didn't see many reconstructions, as their timbered old towns were hard to reconstruct after '45.
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Old July 4th, 2017, 10:55 AM   #1979
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gjone2, keepthepast, et al. You are joking, aren't you? Bombing residential districts never was justified, and has never been anything else than a severe war crime! You may bomb industrial areas, barracks, or even transportation facilities, but never ever area bombings on residential districts of cities, certainly not cities where you have no troops fighting. There will never be any justification for this unprecedented war crime, and it's not even worth discussing about any legitimacy of that.
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Old July 4th, 2017, 11:48 AM   #1980
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