See Berlin Before and After World War II in Startling Color Video




Beautiful city, shame about all those Nazis.

Yes, this color newsreel above shows Berlin in 1936 as it gets ready to welcome the world for the Olympic Games. It’s a PR film meant to show the upside of the Reich, as Germans looked forward to a “better future”, and indeed the city looks just as gorgeous and exciting as other bustling European metropolises. There’s new construction alongside the classical architecture. There’s couples dancing to the latest hit tunes—Malneck and Mercer’s “Goody Goody” (which Benny Goodman had just released in February). There’s young men frolicking in the Wannsee while ladies sunbathe.


But then there’s those Nazis, ruining everybody’s travel plans. The streets are “festively decorated with flags with the current pattern” (ie. the swastika); we see a group of Hitler youth on a parade for the Führer; and while the “changing of the guard” may put some in mind of Buckingham Palace, here they’ve got the full goose-stepping going on. And the film ends very oddly: a shot of the guards outside the Ministry of Aviation, home to morphine addict and concentration camp co-creator Hermann Göering.

Flash forward to July 1945, and what a difference surrender to the Allies makes: Berlin in ruins, large posters of Stalin, and the signs of the divisions that eventually end in the 1961 building of the Berlin Wall. The newsreel concludes with a dramatic aerial shot of the entire city, taking in the amount of destruction.

We’ve featured this 1945 film before, but this before-and-after comparison speaks to the devastation of war and the determination to rebuild.

If you would like to get Open Culture post’s via email, please sign up for our free email newsletter here.

And if you would like to support the mission of Open Culture, consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere. You can contribute through PayPal, Patreon, Venmo (@openculture) and Crypto. Thanks for your support!

Related Content

Berlin Street Scenes Beautifully Caught on Film (1900-1914)

1,000,000 Minutes of Newsreel Footage by AP & British Movietone Released on YouTube

Watch World War II Rage Across Europe in a 7 Minute Time-Lapse Film: Every Day From 1939 to 1945

Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the FunkZone Podcast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.


by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Support Open Culture

We’re hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture’s educational mission, please consider making a donation. We accept PayPal, Venmo (@openculture), Patreon and Crypto! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (1)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Quantcast
Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.