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Planning for the Mark Brandenburg and for Prague during the Third Reich

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During the 12 years of the Third Reich, the Nazis engaged in several important urban planning projects, including an ambitious effort aimed at redesigning dozens of larger German cities as sites representing Nazi ideological aims and practices. Scholars have studied these plans, but little attention has been given to the work of a small group of planners, headed by Reinhold Niemeyer, which focused first on smaller towns in Brandenburg other than Berlin and then on Prague, the capital of the so-called Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, a semi-autonomous territory within greater Germany. This article analyses key elements of the plans of the Niemeyer group. Niemeyer and Eugen Blanck, his chief subordinate, had both been associated before 1933 with modernist ideas on planning and architecture. In 1934 Niemeyer became the president of the German Academy for Urban, Reich and Regional Planning, a post he held until 1946. In 1937 he moved to Berlin to take the position as planner for Brandenburg, where Blanck joined him in 1938. Their plans for Brandenburg and Prague, it will be argued, reflected the tensions between their modernism and the grandiose, authoritarian visions of Nazism. They sought to combine modern ideas about urban form and function with Nazi models, and they thereby contributed to the creation of planning models that constituted the main leitmotifs for post-war German reconstruction planning up until the mid-1960s.

Keywords: Eugen Blanck; German Academy for Urban, Reich and Regional Planning; National Socialist planning; Prague; Reinhold Niemeyer

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of History, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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