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I think that there are good reasons to avoid excessive romantic nostalgia for the pre-modern quarters of old Hamburg. The living conditions in many of these old quarters were miserable to say the least, made even worse so after the 1842 fire concetrated the population in an even smaller area. What's more, the old working and living arrangements changed significantly at that time, as traders or merchants preferred the comfort of newer suburbs and only commuted into the center to work in offices. The city authorities' decision to build a modern city center befitting an emerging global metropolis such as Hamburg made a lot of sense at the time, whatever the architectural losses may have been.

Ideally a small part of the old town would have been cleaned, renovated and kept as a picturesque touristic attraction and cultural landmark; as far as I know there were plans for such a move, but they largely failed because of war-time destruction and new construction priorities and ideas afterwards.
 

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Another surprisingly well-preserved city in northern Germany is Flensburg.
I agree. Flensburg is quite wonderful and the German Naval Training school is there which is a fantastic brick structure/complex that is very definitely worth a visit. Flensburg's survival from wartime damage was a key reason why it was the last official seat of government for the short-lived replacement of Hitler's government, and the site of the final surrender.
 

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I wouldn't overestimate Kiel pre war - I'm not saying it wasn't nice as all German cities were beautiful by today's standards but Kiel really had a rather gründerzeity Altstadt with some not really spectacular older houses sprinkled in.
I think Kiel still had nice sections of its old town, and was quite handsome for a city of its size.








 

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A surprisingly well-preserved city in Germany is Zwickau in Saxony. A thriving, medium-sized city in the early 20th century, Zwickau seems to have escaped the wipe-out that befell similarly-sized cities such as Frankfurt (Oder or Bielefeld. The city's pleasant architecture can be seen in this video:
(the channel has plenty of nice views from German cities).
 

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No, the eastern old town was torn down by the communists starting 1971.
 
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I don't know about the specifics of Munich, but generally, this is a common phenomenon in Germany. Extremely many buildings or remnants of buildings have been torn down in the immediate aftermath of the war or in the postwar period until ca. 1975. One aspect to consider is that we cannot judge the stability of the burnt out shells of some of the intact looking facades just by looking at photos. Since the street facades especially of many Gründerzeit buildings were extremely solid, they often stood even when the rest of the building was heavily damaged and/or thoroughly burnt out which made a lot of these mere shells of buildings or street facade remnants highly unstable and prone to collapsing which is why they were being torn down.

We had similar discussions about this in many threads about photos from the immediate aftermath of WWII (like 1945-1947). There were essentially three phases of destruction of pre war architecture in Germany:

1. obviously, the war, area bombing, firestorms and shelling
2. the immediate aftermath, ca. 1945-1950, when the burnt out ruins that often had their best preserved/most solidly built sides towards the streets giving the impression of a reasonably well preserved and rebuildable state were torn down for security reasons (and of course, lack of funds to secure the facades), protection for playing children, passersby that got struck by falling parts of the ruinous buildings etc, in the later years also already the tearing down of more intact buildings due to the planning of road extensions/parking spaces
3. the period from about 1955/1960 until 1975, when the car friendly restructuring of many of our city centres led to further waves of destruction especially in the Gründerzeit areas. Lots of terrible mistakes and complete destructions of intact quarters that were sacrificed for elevated roads, broader streets, parking lots and garages as well as shopping centres were made, everywhere in Germany.

Generally, the tendency to tear down existing buildings was greater in areas/cities with a lot of destruction, paradoxically whereas cities whose cityscape had broadly survived the war usually proved more resistant against further destruction.

I guess and from what I know about Munich, most of the changing of its cityscape took place in phases 1 (war) and 2 (first few years after WW2), a phase that was euphemistically called "Trümmerräumung" even if the "Trümmer" were often times largely intact buildings. Although, again, we cannot judge the real state and static stability of many seemingly intact buildings/facades from a film or some photos. Munich fared quite well in phase 3 because it was less destroyed than many other cities and generally opted for a more traditional rebuilding so that I think the amount of buildings torn down in, say, 1970, was smaller than in Cologne or Hamburg. But this is conjecture and I am sure that even in Munich, there were some destructions of beautiful pre war buildings going on until the 1970s and even later.
 
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