Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hitler And Speer In Color

Adolf Hitler and Albert Speer, in a photograph almost certainly taken at Wolf’s Lair, Hitler’s command complex secreted in a giant forest in Northeast Poland. The photograph was probably taken in 1943, to judge from the appearances of the two main subjects.

Wolf’s Lair, plans for which were laid as soon as Poland was overrun, was completed even before Germany invaded Russia in June 1941. The complex was built specifically to allow Hitler to direct activities on The Eastern Front from close range. Between June 23, 1941, Hitler’s first day at Wolf’s Lair, and November 20, 1944, Hitler’s final day at Wolf’s Lair, Hitler spent over 800 days at the complex.

Wolf’s Lair featured over 200 buildings, several of reinforced concrete. The complex had its own power station and its own railroad station. By the summer of 1944, over 2000 persons lived and worked year-round at Wolf’s Lair. Numerous mechanisms were used—including camouflage netting—to conceal the complex from the air.

The concealment was successful. Russian intelligence learned the location of Wolf’s Lair early in the war, but never succeeded in bombing the complex.

In early 1945, as Germany retreated in the face of the Russian advance, the Germans destroyed Wolf’s Lair insofar as possible—but there was little the Germans could do with the reinforced concrete structures, which survive to this day.

Officials in Poland announced earlier this year that Wolf’s Lair may be turned into a major tourist attraction if sufficient financing can be raised to build a modern road network into the forest, repair the surviving structures and erect a new tourist center.

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