Category: berlin

German Führer Adolf Hitler addressing members …

German Führer Adolf Hitler addressing members of the German Reichstag at the Kroll Opera House in Berlin after declaring war on the United States, December 10, 1941

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On December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress to ask for a declaration of war against Japan, following attacks U.S. military bases at Pearl Harbor and other locations throughout the Pacific Ocean. The response from the Congress was almost unanimous support for the declaration of war. While the war against Japan was clear cut (in many places U.S. and Japanese forces were in conflict), President Roosevelt did not ask for a declaration of war against Japan’s ally, Nazi Germany. While the United States had been steadily supplying aid to Great Britain to support its war effort against Germany, there was no immediate push for war with Germany. Adolf Hitler himself would solve this problem.

On December 8 the Japanese ambassador to Germany, Hiroshi Ōshima, approached German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop to ask for a declaration of war on the U.S. under the Tripartite Pact, Germany had agreed to support Japan if it was attacked, but not if it was the aggressor. Ribbentrop was justifiably afraid that the addition of the U.S. to the Allies would overwhelm Germany. Hitler pushed for the declaration for two reasons. For one, he believed that the Japanese were more powerful that they were and could quickly defeat the U.S. in the Pacific. Secondly, he wanted to beat the U.S. to the punch and declare war first. At 3:30 PM Berlin time (9:30 AM in Washington D.C.) on December 11, the German charge d’affaires in Washington D.C. handed U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull a declaration of war. That evening, Hitler addressed the Reichstag at the Kroll Opera Hose in Berlin to defend the declaration. That meeting is the subject of the above photo. Many key personalities of the Third Reich are identifiable.

To the right of Hitler is Otto Dietrich, SS-Obergruppenführer and Reich Press Chief. To Dietrich’s right is Albert Bormann, Martin Bormann’s younger brother and chief of the office of Personal Affairs of the Führer. To the left of Hitler is Hans Lammers, Chief of the Reich Chancellery. To Lammers’ left (face blurred) is Julius Schaub, Adolf Hitler’s chief aide and adjutant. Seated directly behind Hitler is Reichmarschall Herman Göring (President of the Reichstag, Prime Minister of Prussia and head of the Luftwaffe). To the left of Göring is Martin Bormann, Chief of the Nazi Party Chancellery.

At the table at left are (from right):

  • Joachim von Ribbentrop (Foreign Minister)

  • Großadmiral Erich Raeder (Commander of the Kriegsmarine)

  • Generalfeldmarschall Walther von Brauchitsch (Commander-in-Chief of the German Army)

  • Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel (Chief of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, Armed Forces High Command)

  • Dr. Wilhelm Frick (Reich Minister of the Interior)

  • Joseph Goebbels (Reich Minister of Propaganda)

Raeder, Brauchitsch, and Keitel all have their field marshal batons in front of them.

In the second row are (also from right):

  • Count Lutz Graf Schwerin von Krosigk (Reich Minister of Finance)

  • Walter Funk (Reich Minister for Economic Affairs)

  • Richard Walther Darré (Reich Minister for Food and Agriculture)

  • Bernhard Rust (Minister of Science, Education and National Culture)

  • Hanns Kerrl (Reich Mister of Church Affairs)

  • Hans Michael Frank (Governor-General of the General Government in occupied Poland)

  • Julius Dorpmüller (Reich Minister for Transport)

  • Arthur Seyss-Inquart (Governor of Austria and Reichskommissar for the Occupied Netherlands)

  • Fritz Todt (Minister for Armaments and Munitions)

The first three men in the third row are (from right):

  • Alfred Rosenberg (Reich Minister of the Occupied Eastern Territories)

  • Otto Meissner (former head of the Office of the President. Currently serving as “Chief of the Presidential Chancellery of the Führer and the Chancellor”)

  • Johannes Popitz (Prussian State and Finance Minister)


  • A link to an original black and white version. This amazing colorization was done by Redditor u/zuzahin

  • The Reichstag saluting Hitler after the speech and what might be the GREATEST EDIT OF A PHOTO I’ve ever seen.

  • Link to the full speech. It’s an hour and thirty minutes. The first half is Hitler listing the accomplishments of German forces since the start of the war. In the second half, Hitler lambasts President Roosevelt, comparing each other’s past and criticizing his failure to bring the U.S. out of the Depression. It is this failure that Hitler claims is the reason Roosevelt was pushing the U.S. into war. He also lists all of the U.S. provocations prior to December 1941.

Berlin Zoo, 1967. Photographed by Willy Ronis.

Berlin Zoo, 1967. Photographed by Willy Ronis.

Berliners looking for valuables.

Berliners looking for valuables.

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A destroyed Volkswagen Beetle after fights in …

A destroyed Volkswagen Beetle after fights in Berlin, 1945

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A French Soldier from the Waffen-SS “Cha…

A French Soldier from the Waffen-SS “Charlemagne” division during the Battle of Berlin, – April 23rd, 1945.

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*EDIT: I have come to believe that this is actually a reenactor, not a historical photo. If I can confirm it is a reenactor, I am going to delete it.*

The SS Charlemagne Division was formed in 1944 from a collection of troops serving in other French Units of the German Armed Forces as well as from paramilitary groups such as the “Franc-Garde” of the Milice or French Police Units serving with the German Forces overseeing the occupation of France

The original French Unit serving with the German Wehrmacht was the LVF which was the Legion of French Volunteers against Bolshevism, its official title was the 638th Infantry Regiment and consisted mainly of anit-communist Frenchmen or French POW’s who preferred fighting rather than forced labor in Germany. These POW’s were the remainder of the French Armed forces who were ordered to surrender in 1940 after the occupation of France by the German Armed forces. Other French troops were also recruited some as elements from the Vichy Phalanx and members from the French Foreign Legion who some cases still had allegiance to Vichy France.

The Charlemagne Division was sent to fight the Red Army in Poland, but on 25 February 1945, it was attacked at Hammerstein (present-day Czarne) in Pomerania, by troops of the Soviet 1st Belorussian Front. The Soviet forces split the French force into three pockets. One group commanded by Krukenberg survived. It was evacuated from the coast by the German Navy to Denmark and later sent to Neustrelitz for refitting; the second group with Oberführer Puaud was destroyed by Soviet artillery and the third group tried fighting its way back westward, but by 17 March 1945 all had been captured or killed in action.

In early April 1945, SS-Brigadefuhrer Krukenberg now commanded the remains of the SS Charlemagne Division now down to 700 men and organized into a single Infantry Regiment, officially designated Battalion 57 and 58 and were ordered to Berlin to conduct a delaying action against the approaching Red Army. Eventually, Berlin fell, the SS Charlemagne were the last defenders of Hitler’s bunker holding out until May 2nd, 1945 to prevent the Soviets capturing it on Mayday. Reduced to approximately thirty able men, most members surrendered near the Potsdamer rail station to Red Army soldiers.

Most Charlemagne survivors were shot on sight, the ones that did escape Berlin (approx 30 men) and made it back to France were imprisoned by the Allies. General Leclerc when presented with 12 SS Charlemagne survivors ordered them to be executed imeadiately without any form of trial. When confronted with the 12 captured Charlemagne prisoners Gen Leclerc was reputed to say “Why do you wear German Uniform?” one grizzled French SS veteran replied “Why do you wear an American one?”

The Polish flag flew over Berlin on May 2nd 19…

The Polish flag flew over Berlin on May 2nd 1945 it was placed by polish soldiers who fought with the Red Army

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Polish flag raised on the top of Berlin Victory Column on May 2, 1945.

During the Battle of Berlin of 1945, Soviet Troops nicknamed the column “the Tall Woman”. Polish Army troops, fighting alongside their Soviet allies, hoisted the Polish flag on the column on 2 May 1945 at the end of the Battle in Berlin.

derwolfsmantel: Photographs of a devastated p…


Photographs of a devastated post-war Berlin in the summer of 1945.

“When Allied observers came to Germany after the war, most of them expected to find destruction on the same scale as they had witnessed in Britain during the Blitz. Even after British and American newspapers and magazines began to print pictures and descriptions of the devastation it was impossible to prepare for the sight of the real thing. Austin Robinson, for example, was sent to western Germany directly after the war on behalf of the British Ministry of Production. His description of Mainz while he was there displays his sense of shock:

That skeleton, with whole blocks level, huge areas with nothing but walls standing, factories almost completely gutted, was a picture that I know will live with me for life. One had known it intellectually without feeling it emotionally or humanly. 

British Lieutenant Philip Dark was equally apallaed by the apocalyptic vision he saw in Hamburg at the end of the war:

[W]e swung in towards the centre and started to enter a city devastated beyond all comprehension. It was more than appallaing. As far as the eye could see, square mile after square mile of empty shells of buildings with twisted girders scarecrowed in the air,  radiators of a flat jutting out from a shaft of a still-standing wall, like a crucified pterodactyl skeleton. Horrible, hideous shapes of chimneys sprouting from the frame of a wall. The whole pervaded by an atmosphere of ageless quiet… Such impressions are incomprehensible unless seen.

Berlin was “completely shattered – just piles of rubble and skeleton houses.” Between 18 and 20 million German people were rendered homeless by the destruction of their cities – that is the same as the combined prewar populations of Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg. These people lived in cellars, ruins, holes in the ground – anywhere they could find a modicum of shelter. They were entirely deprived of essential servies, such as water, gas, electricity – as were millions of others across Europe.”

(Text via Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II by  Keith Lowe; photographs via)

mostly-history: Brandenburg Gate (East Berlin,…


Brandenburg Gate (East Berlin, late August 1961).  Military water
trucks with high-pressure hoses line up along the border near the
Gate, to douse anyone from the western side who comes too close.  The
first version of the Berlin Wall was a wire barrier put up during the
night of August 12th.

American tourists in Berlin during the Olympic…

American tourists in Berlin during the Olympics, August, 1936

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Triple decker bus in Berlin, Germany, 1926.

Triple decker bus in Berlin, Germany, 1926.