Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Reich Chancellery In May 1945

A mother and child play outside Albert Speer’s Reich Chancellery in the second week of May 1945, only days after the end of the war.

The balcony on which Hitler appeared for special occasions is visible in the background.

The hyper-efficient Germans always cleared streets immediately after air raids, which explains why streets in the photograph are free from debris.

By mid-May, the rest of the debris in the photograph had been plowed and deposited against and alongside the walls of the former Chancellery; the debris was to reach the floor of the balcony. This fact is known from countless photographs—by American, British and Russian soldiers as well as by professional photographers working for various news agencies—taken from May 16 onward, photographs that depict soldiers and visiting dignitaries posed atop the piles of debris immediately adjacent to “Hitler’s Balcony”.

Those other photographs allow the photograph above conclusively to be placed in the second week of May. It was taken sometime after the conclusion of The Battle Of Berlin but before the tons of debris had been shifted.

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