Reich Chancellery

The Reich Chancellery (Reichskanzlei) was the traditional name of the office of the Chancellor of Germany (then called Reichskanzler) in the period of the German Reich from 1871 to 1945.
The Chancellery’s seat from 1875 was the former city palace of Prince Antoni Radziwiłł (1775–1833) on Wilhelmstraße in Berlin.
Both the palace and a new Reich Chancellery building (completed in early 1939) were seriously damaged during World War II and subsequently demolished by the soviet occupation forces.

Please note: While every effort is made to try and ensure that the information on this page is as accurate as possible, mistakes can occur, as much of the content has been translated from German sources. Corrections and any additional information or images will be much appreciated.


 

Old Reich Chancellery

Reichskanzlei

Old Reich Chancellery (Palais Radziwiłł)

When the military alliance of the North German Confederation was reorganised as a federal state with effect from July 1, 1867, the office of a Federal Chancellor (Bundeskanzler) was implemented at Berlin and staffed with the Prussian Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck. After the unification of Germany on January 18, 1871 by accession of the South German states, Bismarck became Reich Chancellor of the new German Empire.

In 1869 the Prussian state government had acquired the Rococo city palace of late Prince Radziwiłł on Wilhelmstraße No. 77 (former “Palais Schulenburg”), which from 1875 was refurbished as the official building of the Chancellery. It was inaugurated with the meetings of the Berlin Congress in July 1878, followed by the Congo Conference in 1884.

In the days of the Weimar Republic the Chancellery was significantly enlarged by the construction of a Modern southern annex finished in 1930. In 1932/33, while his nearby office on Wilhelmstraße No. 73 was renovated, the building also served as the residence of Reich President Paul von Hindenburg, where he appointed Adolf Hitler chancellor on 30 January 1933.

The Hitler Cabinet held few meetings here. In 1935 the architects Paul Troost and Leonhard Gall redesigned the interior as Hitler’s domicile. They also added a large reception hall/ballroom and conservatory, officially known as the Festsaal mit Wintergarten in the garden area.

The latter addition was unique because of the large cellar that led a further one-and-a-half meters down to an air-raid shelter known as the Vorbunker.
Once completed in 1936, it was officially called the “Reich Chancellery Air-Raid Shelter” until 1943, with the construction to expand the bunker complex with the addition of the Führerbunker, located one level below.
The two bunkers were connected by a stairway set at right angles which could be closed off from each other.
Devastated by air raids and the Battle of Berlin, the ruins of the Old Reich Chancellery were not cleared until 1950.

Das Palais Radziwiłł

Palais Radziwiłł

Palais Radziwiłł/Schulenburg
Palais Radziwiłł in Wilhelmstrasse 77 (today no. 93) (1736 – 1739 erected under the direction of the Royal Building Commission as the Palais Schulenburg; from 1795 onwards in the position of the Radziwiłł princes.

For almost twenty years the Palais Radziwiłł played hosts to regular visits from well-known personalities, artists and academics.
These included such famous people as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Frederic Chopin, Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Indeed the “Salons” held by the Radziwiłłs was so popular that they became a symbol of “Polish Berlin”.

Later too the Palais Radziwiłł was a meeting point for Polish politicians in the Prussian Parliament, where they could exchange ideas and opinions on how to solve the long-standing question of what to do about Poland.

The Radziwiłł family lived in their palace for a further three generations until it became too small. In 1875 the residence was sold to the German Reich. From now on Wilhelmstrasse 77 would be the new home of the Reich Chancellor. It was not long before Otto von Bismarck moved into the freshly renovated rooms.

The Chancellor of the German Reich was not exactly an open friend of Poland. Even today it is not completely clear whether he was aware of the heavy symbolism of the address from which he now ruled, or whether he chose this address deliberately.
Whatever the case the Palais Radziwill and the Radziwill family played a major role in promoting Prussian-Polish relationships in Berlin.

Palais Radziwiłł - Red Salon

Red Salon & Winter Garden, ca. 1927

Timeline for Radziwiłł/Schulenburg
Names: Radziwill Palace, Palais von der Schulenburg, (Alte) Reichskanzlei
Location: Friedrichstadt – Wilhelmstrasse No. 7 (1809: No. 77)
1736 – 1739 construction of the building
1757 feed a false ceiling in the hitherto two floors reaching Gartensaal
1796, Anton von Radziwill and his Wife resided in this house
1796 Small alterations to the façade (architectural decoration, inscription)
1820 installation of the so-called Gothic Hall
1945 War damage
1947 Demolished by the Soviet occupation forces
1950 Ruins cleared


 

New Reich Chancellery

Reichskanzlei construction

New Chancellery under construction

In late January 1938, Adolf Hitler officially assigned his favourite architect Albert Speer to build the New Reich Chancellery around the corner on Voßstraße, a western branch-off of Wilhelmstraße, requesting that the building be completed within a year. Hitler commented that Bismarck’s Old Chancellery was “fit for a soap company” but not suitable as headquarters of a Greater German Reich. It nevertheless remained his official residence with its recently refurbished representation rooms on the ground floor and private rooms on the upper floor where Hitler lived in the so-called Führerwohnung (“Leader apartment”). Old and New Chancellery shared the large garden area with the underground Führerbunker, where Hitler committed suicide at the end of April 1945.

Speer claimed in his autobiography that he completed the task of clearing the site, designing, constructing, and furnishing the building in less than a year. In fact, preliminary planning and versions of the designs were already being worked on as early as 1935. To clear the space for the New Reich Chancellery, the buildings on the northern side of Voßstraße No. 2–10 had already been demolished in 1937.

Hitler placed the entire northern side of the Voßstraße at Speer’s disposal assigning him the work of creating grand halls and salons which “will make an impression on people”. Speer was given a blank cheque — Hitler stated that the cost of the project was immaterial — and was instructed that the building be of solid construction and that it be finished by the following January in time for the next New Year diplomatic reception to be held in the new building.

Over 4,000 workers toiled in shifts, so the work could be accomplished round-the-clock. The immense construction was “finished” 48 hours ahead of schedule, and the project earned Speer a reputation as a good organiser, which, combined with Hitler’s fondness for Speer played a part in the architect becoming Armaments Minister and a director of forced labour during the war. Speer recalls that the whole work force — masons, carpenters, plumbers, etc. were invited to inspect the finished building. Hitler then addressed the workers in the Sportpalast.
However, interior fittings dragged on well into the early 1940s. In the end it cost over 90 Million Reichsmark, well over one billion dollars today, and hosted the ministries of the Reich.

Reichskanzlei Entrance on Voßstraße

Reichskanzlei Entrance on Voßstraße

In his memoirs, Speer described the impression of the Reichskanzlei on a visitor:
“ From Wilhelmsplatz an arriving diplomat drove through great gates into a court of honour. By way of an outside staircase he first entered a medium-sized reception room from which double doors almost seventeen feet high opened into a large hall clad in mosaic. He then ascended several steps, passed through a round room with domed ceiling, and saw before him a gallery 480 feet (150 m) long. Hitler was particularly impressed by my gallery because it was twice as long as the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.
Hitler was delighted: “On the long walk from the entrance to the reception hall they’ll get a taste of the power and grandeur of the German Reich!” During the next several months he asked to see the plans again and again but interfered remarkably little in this building, even though it was designed for him personally. He let me work freely.”

The series of rooms comprising the approach to Hitler’s reception gallery were decorated with a rich variety of materials and colours and totalled 220 m (725 ft) in length.
The gallery itself was 145 m (480 ft) long. Hitler’s own office was 400 square meters in size. From the outside, the chancellery had a stern, authoritarian appearance. From the Wilhelmplatz, guests would enter the Chancellery through the Court of Honour (Ehrenhof).
The building’s main entrance was flanked by two bronze statues by sculptor Arno Breker: “Wehrmacht” and “Partei” (“Armed Forces” and “Party”). Hitler is said to have been greatly impressed by the building and was uncharacteristically free in his praise for Speer, lauding the architect as a “genius”.
The chancellor’s great study was a particular favourite of Hitler. The big marble-topped table served as an important part of the Nazi leader’s military headquarters, the study being used for military conferences from 1944 on. On the other hand, the Cabinet room was never used for its intended purpose.

Neue Reichskanzlei, Innenhof

Innenhof

The New Reich Chancellery was badly damaged during the Battle of Berlin in April 1945. After World War II ended, the remains in what was East Berlin were demolished by orders of the Soviet occupation forces.
Parts of the building’s marble walls were said to be used to build the Soviet war memorial in Treptower Park or to renovate the nearby war-damaged Mohrenstraße U-Bahn station. Some of the red marble was used in the palatial Underground stations in Moscow.
Also a heater from Hitler’s rooms was placed in a Protestant hospital.

While the western half of the premises were seized for the “death strip” of the Berlin Wall in 1961, a Plattenbau apartment block and a kindergarten were built on the eastern corner with Wilhelmstraße in the 1980s.

On July 19, 1940 Adolf Hitler appointed in his study of the New Reich Chancellery following 12 field marshals:

Albert Kesselring (1885-1960) (L), Air Force leaders
Erhard Milch (1892-1972) (L), Chief of Staff of the Air Force
Erwin von Witzleben (1881-1944, executed), Army leaders and resistance fighters
Fedor von Bock (1880-1945, fallen), Army Group leader
Günther von Kluge (1882-1944, suicide), Army Group leader
Gerd von Rundstedt (1875-1953), Army Group leaders and OB West
Hugo Sperrle (1885-1953) (L), Air Force leaders
Walter von Reichenau (1884-1942, stroke), Army Group leader
Walther von Brauchitsch (1881-1948), Commander Army 1938 – 1941
Wilhelm Keitel (1882-1946, executed), Chief of the Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht
Wilhelm List (1880-1971), Army Group leader
Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb (1876-1956), Army Group leader


 

The Building

Reichskanzlei, Voßstraße

Reichskanzlei, Voßstraße

Voßstraße
The entrance on Voßstraße was guarded by members of the SS unit of the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler.
The men of the SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler were classified as “men of honour” under Nazi rule. Many were later indited as war criminals after the war.
Facial expressions and movement were stricktly forbidden when on guard duty, two other guards guarded the door to Hitlers office.
Some parts of the marble panels have been re-used in the construction of the Soviet War Memorial Treptow Park and in the neighbouring underground station Mohrenstraße.

Among the notable buildings in the Voßstrasse in the mid-1930s were: on the north side, numbered from east to west; Voßstraße 1 – the Borsig Palais, on the corner of Wilhelmstraße, built in 1875-1877 on part of the site of the former Marshall Palais, for the German businessman and manufacturer Albert Borsig (1829–1878), son of locomotive engineer August Borsig, although he never actually moved into it and died a year after its completion; 2 – the head office of Mitropa, a catering company which from 1916 until 2002 managed sleeping and dining cars throughout the German rail system; 3 – the Embassy of Bavaria; 4-5 – the Justice Ministry of the German Empire, Weimar Republic and Third Reich; 6 – the head office of the German Reich Railway Co; 10 – the Embassy of Württemberg; 11 – the Nazi Party’s Berlin offices; 15 – the Bank of Delbrück Schickler & Co; 19 – the Embassy of Saxony.

On the south side, numbered from west to east;
Voßstraße 20 – The former Reich Naval Office, which had relocated to the Bendlerblock in 1914.
Voßstraße 22 – The Mosse Palais, home of the German Jewish publishing tycoon Hans Lachmann-Mosse (1885–1944)
Voßstraße 24-32 – The rear of the enormous Jewish-owned department store Wertheim
Voßstraße 33-35 – Offices of the German Reich Railway Co. By the 1930s the latter had been taken over by the new Reichs Ministry of Transport, which in its final form occupied an extensive range of buildings with facades in three streets (Voßstrasse, Leipziger Straße and Wilhelmstraße).
Other addresses in Voßstrasse were mostly residential properties.

In 1938 the entire north side of the street, except for the Borsig Palais (Voßstraße 1), was demolished to make way for the new Reich Chancellery building, built by Albert Speer for Adolf Hitler and opened in January 1939.
Incorporating the Borsig Palais within its structure, the Chancellery extended back along the whole length of the Voßstrasse, a distance of 430 metres: its official address was Voßstraße 6.

 

Neue Reichskanzlei, from Wilhelmplatz

Reichskanzlei, from Wilhelmplatz

Wilhelmstraße
The Chancellery as it looked in 1938 from Wilhelmstrasse, the balcony for Adolf Hitler was already in place, Albert Speer had provided the thoroughfare to the main courtyard with a double gate.
Construction of the balcony caused quarrels with the architect, after tough negotiations the balcony was installed for RM 28,360.
The balcony was reinforced with armoured plates.

Wilhelmstraße was originally a wealthy residential street, with a number of palaces belonging to members of the Hohenzollern royal family, the Wilhelmstrasse developed as a Prussian government precinct from the mid 19th century.

In 1858 King Frederick William IV acquired the former Palais Schwerin on No. 73 as the administrative seat of the Prussian minister for the Royal Household, from 1861 led by Alexander von Schleinitz.

In 1869 the nearby Palais Schulenburg residence of late Prince Antoni Radziwiłł, built in 1738/39 on No. 77, was purchased by the Prussian state government at the behest of Schleinitz’ opponent Minister-President Otto von Bismarck. Rebuilt from 1875 until 1878, it served as his official seat as German chancellor. The next door building on No. 76 was used for the chancellery’s Foreign Office department.

Damaged balcony of the Reichskanzlei, 1945

Damaged balcony of the Reichskanzlei, 1945

After World War I the Palais Schwerin was sold by exiled Emperor Wilhelm II to the Weimar Republic government and in 1919 became the residence of the first Reich President of Germany, Friedrich Ebert. Until the death of his successor Paul von Hindenburg in 1934, the President’s official residence was at Wilhelmstraße 73, where he could watch the torchlight parade on the night of the Nazi Machtergreifung on 30 January 1933, after he had sworn in Adolf Hitler as German chancellor. Hitler addressed the cheering crowds on Wilhelmstraße from a window of a modern chancellery annex building erected in 1930.
Styling himself “Führer and Reich Chancellor” from 1934, he regarded the residence inadequate and ordered the construction of the vast New Reich Chancellery according to plans designed by Albert Speer. This building, a prime example of Nazi architecture, stood immediately south of the old Chancellery, on the corner of the Wilhelmstrasse and the Voss Strasse, and its official address was Voßstraße 4.

The Foreign Office moved into the former Reich President’s palace, the old building being refurbished in grandiose style at the behest of Nazi Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. Vis-à-vis on Wilhelmplatz, the Baroque Ordenspalais was refurbished as seat of the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda led by Joseph Goebbels.

In 1935/36 his party fellow Hermann Göring had the huge Ministry of Aviation building designed by Ernst Sagebiel built on the corner with Leipziger Strasse.
The adjacent Prinz-Albrecht-Palais in the south became notorious as the seat of the Sicherheitsdienst of the Reichsführer-SS and the Sicherheitspolizei chief-of-staff; merged into the SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt terror complex under Reinhard Heydrich in 1939. Most of the public buildings along Wilhelmstrasse were destroyed by Allied bombing during 1944 and early 1945 and during the following Battle of Berlin.
The building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 cut the street in half. In 1964 the East Berlin section of the street was named after a former GDR Minister-president as Otto-Grotewohl-Straße.

 

Ehrenhof (Court of Honour)

Ehrenhof (Court of Honour)

Ehrenhof (Court of Honour)
The courtyard of the New Reich Chancellery was created by Albert Speer as an open space for the state rooms, it was not accessible from either the street or from the garden.
The courtyard was accessible through a newly created entrance of double gates from Wilhelmsplatz and by the extension of the old Reich Chancellery.

The uniqueness of this courtyard was achieved through the unity of architecture and especially by the long rooms, which shielded the main courtyard from the noise of the surrounding city.
Speer created a space of spiritual tranquility, which prepared visitors for their upcoming journey through the state rooms of the New Reich Chancellery.

Two bronze figures – Partei (Party) and Wehrmacht (Army), flanked the main entrance. These sculptures were created by the Franco-German artist Arno Brecker.
The sculptor Professor Kurt Schmid Ehmen created the bronze eagle above the main entrance. The courtyard survived the war, it was demolished in 1947 by the Soviet occupying forces.
A replica of the statues can be seen at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin (www.dhm.de).

 

Erweiterungsbau der Reichskanzlei, 1933

Original extension in 1933 (Erweiterungsbau)

Der Erweiterungsbau (The Extension Building)
This extension to the Reich’s Chancellery was built in 1928 – 1931 by Eduard Jobst Siedler and Robert Kisch. It was constructed on the property where the Palais Voss, was demolished some years before. The building was inaugurated by Paul von Hindenburg on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Reich. In 1934 interior of the building was renovated on conjunction with the renovation of the Reich’s Chancellery. In 1935, Albert Speer added a balcony, the famous “Führerbalkon” to the main facade of the building.

Göbbels’ Ministry of Propaganda backdated the construction of the balcony to 1933, to enforce a symbolic link between the Führerbalkon and Hitler’s assumption of power. Albert Speer perpetuated this false claim, even in the books he published after the war and his years in prison. In 1938 the southern part of the building was demolished and rebuilt as part of it’s integration into the New Reich’s Chancellery.

A driveway was constructed through the building to provide access to the new Court of Honor from Wilhelmplatz. The entrance to the driveway was built into the facade of the extension building as a large double doorway.
In 1945 the extension building was partially destroyed during an aerial bombardment. When the building was released, along with the New Reich’s Chancellery, for the collection of building materials, it was demolished on Soviet command in 1950.

 

Atrium of the Reichskanzlei
The atrium of the New Reich’s Chancellery was located in the western administrative building, and was a part of the informal sector of the New Reich’s Chancellery.

It contained the garages of the house fire brigade, as well as the delivery zone for the Chancellery cafeteria, and was connected with a passage to the entrance of the main garage. The atrium also served to provide natural light to the offices in this section of the Reich’s Chancellery.

 

The Large Courtyard
The larger courtyard of the New Reich’s Chancellery was located between the western administration building and Mittelbau.
Its main function was to create a visual distance between the administration building and the main garden facade of the Chancellery, so that the garden facade of the New Reich’s Chancellery became an independent visual element.
This courtyard was only used as an entrance by staff and residents of the Barracks on Hermann Göring Straße.

 

Neue Reichskanzlei, Gartenfront

Garden Facade

The Garden Facade of the New Reichs Chancellery
The garden facade of the New Reich’s Chancellery reached over the entire length of Mittelbau, and one quarter of the two administrative buildings.

The focal point of the garden facade was the terrace with portico which led to Hitler’s office. The terrace was flanked by two bronze horses, created by the Austrian sculptor Josef Thorak.
Two staircases to the left and right of the terrace led to the portico with it’s giant marble pillars from which doors led to Hitler’s office.

The two horses survived the war, in the 1950s, they reemerged at a Red Army barracks’ sports grounds in Eberswalde, a town northeast of Berlin in the communist German Democratic Republic. The sculptures showed signs of the battle they had been through, painted gold to mask their bullet holes.

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the horses went missing, some speculated they were sold by the GDR.
Police started investigating when they learned someone was attempting to sell them on the black market, they were recovered by German police in May 2015.

 

The Private Courtyard
When Albert Speer built the Court of Honor for the New Reich’s Chancellery, it was located in roughly the same position as the courtyard of the first extension to the Old Reich’s Chancellery.
Only a small corner of the original courtyard remained, and this was incorporated into the smaller, covered courtyard which led from the Court of Honour (Ehrenhof).
Like most of the facades of the New Reich’s Chancellery, the walls were covered in a natural stone cladding. This courtyard connected the Old and the New Reich’s Chancellery.
It provided access to the garages where Hitler’s personal fleet was kept, as well as to the Old Reich’s Chancellery where his private quarters were located. For this reason the smaller courtyard is considered to be Hitler’s private entrance to the Chancellery.

 

Mittelbau
Mittelbau (Centre Building) was the physical and political centre of the New Reich’s Chancellery. The Reich’s Cabinet Room, the Grand Reception Hall, the Marble Gallery and Hitler’s office were all located within this section of the Chancellery. This central role of Mittelbau was outwardly indicated by its prominent placement, size, and the materials used in its facade. The street facade was covered with a natural stone cladding, and showed no visible access to the building.

This gave the building section a somewhat fortified appearance, which was further emphasized by a recessed facade, 16 meters from the road. However, this exclusive appearance was simply an illusion of design – in actuality Mittelbau was constructed on top of a public air raid shelter. Five hidden entrances to the shelters were located in the paving in front of the building. These entrances could be opened independently from within the Chancellery. They opened hydraulically to provide access to stairways leading to the air raid shelters.

 

Praesidialkanzlei (Eastern Administrative Building) 
The eastern administrative building was also called the Praesidialkanzlei. It was designed by Albert Speer to serve as a visual bridge between the historic Borsig Palais and the New Reich’s Chancellery.The building consisted of a left and a right wing, separated by a central portal. The right wing was divided into two levels, to match the two levels of Borsig Palais. Its height was also dictated by the height of the Palais and this, in turn, determined the height of the entire New Reich’s Chancellery. The design and materials of the facade of the right wing matched those on the rest of the Chancellery building.

The left wing of the Praesidialkanzlei was divided into three levels. The central portal served as a demarcation between the two- and three level wings of the building, and so marked the transition between the historical and modern buildings. Above the entrance was mounted an imperial eagle by the sculptor Professor Kurt Schmidt-Ehmen.
The left wing of the building integrated harmoniously into the whole via the architectural link between the portal and the Borsig Palais.
The repetition and variation of design elements on the left- and right wings of the building ensured that the discrepancy between the tree level and two level building halves were dynamic, rather than disturbing.

 

Gewächshaus (Greenhouse)
The Greenhouse of the New Reich’s Chancellery was built into the northern section of the Pergola, and is a good example of the conflict in which Speer often found himself as an Architect.
On the one hand Speer would obviously have been aware that the most appropriate materials for the construction of a greenhouse is metal and glass, as these materials allow the maximum amount of light to reach into the structure.

However, Speer was also aware of the fact that Adolf Hitler would reject a design of glass and metal as “modern architecture”. To solve this problem Speer constructed the greenhouse from natural stone, and tried to compensate for the lack of light by placing an oversized window in the front facade.

This imbalance between form and function was further exacerbated when two statues by Ambrosi and Tuallion were placed in front of the greenhouse.
Not only do the artworks differ greatly in scale, though the artists also lived in different times. The statues were simply placed here alongside each other because it was known that Hitler liked them.

 

Old Winter Garden
This small extension to the Garden facade of the Reich’s Chancellery contained a Garden Room, which was originally built when the old Palais was renovated to become Bismarck’s Chancellery. Hitler gave Paul Ludwig Troost the task of changing the Garden Room into a dining room, with an attached winter garden.

Troost’s plan was to build the winter garden on the western side of the dining room. In the northern section of the winter garden, he would build a staircase to connect the dining room to the roof terrace.

 

Kannenberg Passage
The service passage itself was most likely constructed from prefabricated concrete pieces. Its height was reportedly 2.30 m, and its width 1.20 m.

The passage now provided a direct route from the storage room to the basement of the Reception Hall. From here the staircase connected the basement to the dining room of the Old Reich’s Chancellery.

The roof of the service passage was about 80 centimeters beneath the garden surface. A layer of tar was painted onto the concrete exterior, to prevent moisture from penetrating into the passage. The house manager of the Reich’s Chancellery was Arthur Kannenbeg, he was also responsible for all kitchen supplies.

As the service passage was used for the sole purpose of moving these supplies, it was soon nicknamed by staff the “Kannenberg Passage”

 

The Basement Of The Reception Hall
The basement rooms were connected by passages on the eastern and western sides of the shelter. These could be used as escape routes, should it become necessary to evacuate the bunker in an emergency. The rooms and passages that surrounded the shelter also had another function. They created a space between the exterior walls of the building, and the bunker itself.
This offered additional protection, as bombs which hit the construction from the side would explode in this space, before reaching the air raid shelter itself.

 

Marmorgalerie (Marble Gallery)

Marmorgalerie (Marble Gallery)

Marmorgalerie (Marble Gallery)
The New Reich Chancellery was to show the power and greatness of Germany.
The layout of the 421-meter-long building was designed so that the distance to the “Führer” Adolf Hitler appeared as large as possible and duly intimidating.
The guest had a 300-meter long walk overcome (“Diplomatenweg”), which focused on a 146 meter long marble gallery – twice as long as the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles.

The highly polished marble floor was inspired by a conversation Adolf Hitler had with his architect Speer.
The floor with the Salzburger Altrotmarmor was so sensitive to damage, that shoes had to be restricted.

There were five 6-meter-high mahogany doors, the middle door led to Hitlers office. This door was crowned by a cartouche with Hitler’s initials.
Oversized proportions. were all part of the intimidating affect the building was designed to have on visitors and diplomats.

Hitler's Study doorThe walls in the Marble Gallery were of light yellow polished stucco marble massive, bordered at the ceiling by the red-green-gray “German Red marble.
The other doors led to the corridors outside the rooms of the aides and wore the same cartridges with coat of arms. All were made by the sculptor Hans Vogel.

On the walls in the Marble Hall, were the Alexander-carpets of the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum, designed by Speer.

The entrance to Hitler’s office was always guarded by two soldiers of the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler. Any change in facial expression and all movement was strictly forbidden while guarding the Führer.

Access to Hitler was restricted both for his own personal safety and by those in his ‘inner circle’ to retain their influence and favour with the dictator.

 

Arbeitszimmer des Führers - Hitler’s Study

Arbeitszimmer des Führers – Hitler’s Study

Arbeitszimmer des Führers (Hitler’s Study)
The approximately 370-square-foot office of Adolf Hitler was completely covered with fine marble.
The room had a length of 26.90 meters, a width of 13.77 meters and a height of 9.75 meters, enormous proportions.
5 French windows, each 6 meters high and 2 meters wide could be the portico on the garden terrace towards an opening to the garden of the Reich Chancellery.
Hitler’s study had a separate side entrance and Adolf Hitler also had a private entrance to the Reich Chancellery. Precious tapestries, carpets and furniture gave the room an air of exclusivity.

Precious paintings, tapestries, sculptures and furniture completed the glamorous image. The center of room, geometrically offset on the edge of the room, was the desk of the Führer. The desk has survived the war, for many years the desk stood in the depot of the German Historical Museum. The desk was inlaid with three heads, of which the right represents the head of Medusa with writhing snakes.
One of the inlays from various precious woods formed into an image of a half-drawn sword and a sharpened spear.

Adolf Hitler claimed in an interview with Albert Speer, when the diplomats would see this inlay work with the drawn sword, then the diplomats would learn to “fear”. “Anyone entering the Reich Chancellery, needs to feel how it is to stand before the Lord of the world,”
The desk is on display at the Berlin German Historical Museum, in the former Prussian armoury.

The door behind the desk of Adolf Hitler, led to a relaxation room. In this quiet room there was also a windowless toilet.
The New Reich Chancellery and the study was decorated with flowers. In the study books had been presented so that the visitor had the impression of an atmosphere of ever-working leader.
Hitler prefered working at his much smaller desk in the old Reich Chancellery, his four secretaries usually worked in the “stair room” of the old Reich Chancellery.

The fireplace in the study was furnished with a sofa set. This furniture in combination with a real open fireplace, would create a cozy and intimate atmosphere.
The furniture consisted of a long couch and two armchairs.
In front of the fireplace, were three club chairs with their backs towards the fireplace. Above the fireplace hung a portrait of Bismark by the artist Lenbach.

 

Neue Reichskanzlei, Großer Empfangssaal

Großer Empfangssaal (Large Reception Hall)

Empfangsaal (Reception Hall)
The Reception Hall (also known as the Diplomats’ Room or Ballroom) was built in 1935-1936 by the architect Professor Leonard Gall in the garden of the Reich’s Chancellery. This was the first major new building, commisioned by Adolf Hitler, to be built on the property of the Reich’s Chancellery.

The Reception Hall served as a meeting and reception room for about 200 people. In addition to the hall itself, the building project included the connection staircase of the Fuehrer apartment in the Old Reich’s Chancellery, an air raid shelter underneath the Reception Hall, and an annexe on it’s northern facade which contained apartments for Hitler’s closest aides.
After the bunker was extended in 1943-1945, the original air raid shelter underneath the reception hall became known as the fore-bunker. This is where the Göbbels family lived from April 1945 untill their deaths. The Reception Hall was damaged during the war, and was demolished between 1947-1948, along with the Old Reichs Chancellery.

On January 12, 1939, the New Reich Chancellery witnessed the New Year Reception for the Diplomatic Corps its first public event.
This was followed by artist receptions, meeting with party officials and military officers, state visits, ceremonies and even funerals of Reinhard Heydrich and Dr. Franz Gurtner.
Adolf Hitler thought the reception room was much too small and at the beginning of the war were plans for an increase in the reception hall to three times its size, these plans were never carried out due to the war.
The ceiling of the reception hall was graced with massive crafted chandeliers, designed by Professor Albert Speer.
In length the reception hall measured about 24 meters in width and 16.5 meters in width. This results in a usable area of about 394 square meters.

 

Kabinettsaal (Cabinet Room)
Der Reichskabinettsaal (Reich Cabinet Room)The Cabinet Room of the New Reich Chancellery was hardly used by the except for propaganda purposes as a Cabinet Room. The measurements of the room were 19.30 meters in length and 13.77 meters in width, this give a useful area of 266 square meters. The height was 6.5 meters. The Cabinet Room in the New Reich Chancellery was over 4 times larger than the Cabinet Room of the Brüning government.

According to Albert Speer some ministers asked to see the room as they had never held any cabinet meetings with Hitler.
The 30 chairs in this room were from 1934 and had 10,000 Reichsmarks and hd stood in the old Reich Chancellery.

The walls were made of the finest walnut with burl, the very high ceiling was designed as a coffered ceiling. The floor consisted of a parquet flooring with inlaid patterns.
The builders of the Cabinet Room in the New Reich Chancellery used precious woods to give the feel of exclusivity a “shrine of advice”.
The door to the room was heavy bronze one, inside there were bronze railings and many bronze sculptures. Later in the war the Bronze door was melted down.

In newsreels the ministers places were presented as something special. At each place a folder was placed with the cabinet members name and rank impressed with gold.
Adolf Hitler’s place also had a number of books and special writing materials. Everything was perfectly set for the press, genuine Cabinet meetings were very rare.

 

Speisesaal (Dinning Hall)
The dining room of the Reich Chancellery was situated in a rectangular vestibule, which was located in front of the marble gallery.
This hall was large 17 by 10 meters in height and 7.50 meters.

A staircase went down to the lower altitude dining area. The dining room extended along the eastern garden wall and had the dimensions 48 meters by 10.50 meters with a height of 5 meters.

 

Runder Saal (Round Hall)
Runder Saal (Round Hall)The Round Hall had a height of 10.5 meters, the walls were decorated with marble facing.
The dome has been painted by Hermann Kaspar with a very bright colour.  This caused the dome to appear very light and free, hardly perceived by the viewer as a dome, over the marble walls.

The skylight, which closes the dome at a height of 16 meters is taken from a wide bronze ring.
Artificial lighting is indirect through spotlights, which are built into the groove and the bright dome arching spotlight. In addition, spotlights are located above the skylight.
The evening effect of the architecture is therefore the same as during the day.

The wall of the room is divided by pilasters and cornice in eight fields, in one of the fields are two large doors, another field contained a smaller door with access to the hall in the administrative wing. In front of the five remaining fields were statues by Arno Breker.

The marble consists of two differently colored materials, the darker and the brighter Rottropf Kirch fracture that occur in close proximity to Adnet in the Ostmark (Austria).
The floor measured of 14,25 meters in diameter and consisted of a marble mosaic, designed by Hermann Kaspar.
There were reliefs above the doors created by Breker. The “fighter” with the sword, and on the opposite side, the feminine “genius” with the Roman general character,


 

Reich Chancellery Gallery

 

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