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Metropolis Berlin


Iain Boyd Whyte (Editor), David Frisby (Editor)


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Metropolis Berlin: 1880-1940 reconstitutes the built environment of Berlin during the period of its classical modernity using over two hundred contemporary texts, virtually all of which are published in English translation for the first time. They are from the pens of those who created Berlin as one of the world’s great cities and those who observed this process: architects, city planners, sociologists, political theorists, historians, cultural critics, novelists, essayists, and journalists. Divided into nineteen sections, each prefaced by an introductory essay, the account unfolds chronologically, with the particular structural concerns of the moment addressed in sequence—be they department stores in 1900, housing in the 1920s, or parade grounds in 1940. Metropolis Berlin: 1880-1940 not only details the construction of Berlin, but explores homes and workplaces, public spaces, circulation, commerce, and leisure in the German metropolis as seen through the eyes of all social classes, from the humblest inhabitants of the city slums, to the great visionaries of the modern city, and the demented dictator resolved to remodel Berlin as Germania.
List of Illustrations

General Introduction

I. Booming Metropolis
1. The Metropolitan Panorama
1. Jules Laforgue, Berlin: The Court and the City (1887)
2. Wilhelm Loesche, Berlin North (1890)
3. Mark Twain, The German Chicago (1892)
4. Heinrich Schackow, Berolina: A Metropolitan Aesthetic (1896)
5. Alfred Kerr, Berlin and London (1896)
6. Alfred Kerr, The Transformation of Potsdamer Strasse (1895, 1897)
7. Max Osborn, The Destruction of Berlin (1906)
8. Werner Sombart, Vienna (1907)
9. Robert Walser, Good Morning, Giantess! (1907)
10. August Endell, The Beauty of the Great City (1908)
11. Oscar Bie, Life Story of a Street (1908)
12. Robert Walser, Friedrichstrasse (1909)
13. Max Weber, Speech for a Discussion (1910)
14. Vorwärts, [City Hall Tower Panorama] (1902)
15. Ernst Bloch, Berlin, Southern City (1915–16)

2. Building and Regulating the Metropolis
16. Theodor Goecke, Traffic Thoroughfares and Residential Streets (1893)
17. Rudolf Adickes, The Need for Spacious Building Programs in City Expansions and the Legal and Technical Means to Accomplish This (1895)
18. Vorwärts, [Deforestation around Berlin] (1908)
19. Die Bank, [Speculation in Tempelhof] (1910–11)
20. P. A. A. (Philip A. Ashworth), Berlin (1911)
21. Walter Lewitz, Architectural Notes on the Universal Urban Planning Exhibition, Berlin (1911)
22. Various authors, The Greater Berlin Competition 1910: The Prize-Winning Designs with Explanatory Report (1911)
23. Cornelius Gurlitt, Review of Greater Berlin and The Greater Berlin Competition 1910 (1911)
24. Sigmund Schott, The Agglomeration of Cities in the German Empire: 1871–1910 (1912)
25. Patrick Abercrombie, Berlin: Its Growth and Present State (1914)

3. Production, Commerce, and Consumption
26. Georg Simmel, The Berlin Trade Exhibition (1896)
27. Albert Hoffmann, The Wertheim Department Store in Leipziger Strasse (1898)
28. Robert Walser, Aschinger’s (1907)
29. Karl Scheffler, The Retail Establishment (1907)
30. Leo Colze, The Department Stores of Berlin (1908)
31. Erich Köhrer, Berlin Department Store: A Novel from the World City (1909)
32. Karl Scheffler, Peter Behrens (1913)
33. Karl Ernst Osthaus, The Display Window (1913)
34. Paul Westheim, Nordstern: The New Administration Building in Berlin-Schöneberg (1915)

4. Public Transport and Infrastructure
35. Anonymous, The Concourse of the Anhalter Bahnhof (1880)
36. Alfred Kerr, New and Beautiful!—Bülowstrasse? (1900)
37. Richard Peterson, The Traffic Problems Inherent in Large Cities and the Means of Solving Them (1908)
38. Karl Scheffler, The Elevated Railway and Aesthetics (1902)
39. August Endell, The Beauty of the Great City (1908)
40. Anonymous, The Northern Loop: A Journey on the Ring Railway (1913)
41. Peter Behrens, The Influence of Time and Space Utilization on Modern Design (1914)
42. Karl Ernst Osthaus, The Railway Station (1914)

5. The Proletarian City
43. Theodor Goecke, The Working-Class Tenement Block in Berlin (1890)
44. Otto von Leixner, Letter Eight: A Suburban Street in New Moabit (1891)
45. Heinrich Albrecht, The Working-Class Tenement Buildings of the Berlin Savings and Building Society (1898)
46. Alice Salomon, A Club for Young Working Women in Berlin (1903)
47. Werner Sombart, Domesticity (1906)
48. Albert Südekum, Impoverished Berlin Dwellings—Wedding (1908)
49. Clara Viebig, Our Daily Bread (1907)
50. Karl Scheffler, The Tenement Block (1911)
51. Käthe Kollwitz, Diary Entry, 16 April 1912
52. Max Jacob, From Apartment House to Mass Apartment House (1912)
53. Victor Noack, Housing and Morality (1912)

6. Public Realm and Popular Culture
54. Paul Lindau, Unter den Linden (1892)
55. Anonymous, The New Prison for Berlin at Tegel (1900)
56. Alfred Kerr, In the New Reichstag (1900)
57. Freisinnige Zeitung, [A Military Parade] (1900)
58. Berliner Tageblatt, [A Sunday in Berlin] (1903)
59. Hans Ostwald, Berlin Coffeehouses (c. 1905)
60. Brüstlein, The Rudolf Virchow Hospital in Berlin (1907)
61. Jules Huret, Bruno Schmitz’s “Rheingold” for Aschinger (1909)
62. Anonymous, New Buildings Planned for Museum Island, Berlin (1910)
63. Wilhelm Bode, Alfred Messel’s Plans for the New Buildings of the Royal Museums in Berlin (1910)
64. Paul Westheim, Ludwig Hoffmann’s Berlin School Buildings (1911)
65. Max Wagenführ, The Admiral’s Palace and Its Bathing Pools (1912)
66. Fritz Stahl, The Berlin City Hall (1912)
67. Else Lasker-Schüler, The Two White Benches on the Kurfürstendamm (1913)
68. Bruno Taut, The Problem of Building an Opera House (1914)
69. Anonymous [Joseph Adler?], The Opening of the Tauentzien Palace Café (1914)

7. The Bourgeois City
70. Theodor Fontane, The Treibel Villa (1892)
71. Alfred Kerr, Herr Sehring Builds a Theater Dream (1895)
72. Alfred Kerr, Up and Down the Avenues (1898)
73. Walther Rathenau, The Most Beautiful City in the World (1899)
74. Alfred Kerr, New Luxury, Old Squalor (1900)
75. Hermann Muthesius, The Modern Country Home (1905)
76. Edmund Edel, Berlin W. (1906)
77. Max Creutz, Charlottenburg City Hall (1906)
78. Max Creutz, The New Kempinski Building (1907)
79. Maximilian Rapsilber, Hotel Adlon (1907)
80. Robert Walser, Berlin W. (1910)
81. Robert Walser, The Little Berlin Girl (1909)
82. Walter Lehweß, The Design Competition for Rüdesheimer Platz (1912)
83. Wilhelm Borchard, The Picnic Season (1914)
84. Paul Westheim, Building Boom (1917)

8. The Green Outdoors
85. Wilhelm Bölsche, Beyond the Metropolis (1901)
86. Heinrich Hart, Statutes of the German Garden City Association (1902)
87. Hans Kampffmeyer, The Garden City and Its Cultural and Economic Significance (1906–7)
88. Heinrich Pudor, The People’s Park in Greater Berlin (1910)
89. Karl Ernst Osthaus, Garden City and City Planning (1911)
90. Anonymous, Lietzensee Park in Charlottenburg (1912)
91. Hannes Müllerfeld, Down with the Garden City! (1914)
92. Max Osborn, The Fairy-Tale Fountain in the Friedrichshain, Berlin (1914)
93. Paul Westheim, Workers’ Housing Estate at Staaken (1915)
94. Martin Wagner, Urban Open-Space Policy (1915)
95. Bruno Taut, The Falkenberg Garden Suburb near Berlin (1919–20)

II. World War I and the City
9. City in Crisis
96. Bruno Taut, A Necessity (1914)
97. Vorwärts, [War or Not] (1914)
98. General von Kessel, Berlin in a State of War: Proclamation of the Commander-in-Chief in the Marches (1914)
99. H. B., [War Fever in Berlin, August 1914]
100. Berliner Tageblatt, [Berlin Potato Shortage] (1915)
101. Anonymous, Competition for Greater Berlin Architects (1916)
102. Berliner Tageblatt, Demonstration in Berlin (1918)
103. Friedrich Bauermeister, On the Great City (1918)
104. Walter Gropius, The New Architectural Idea (1919)
105. Leopold Bauer, The Economic Unsustainability of the Large City (1919)

10. Critical Responses
106. Paul Wolf, The Basic Layout of the New City (1919)
107. Bruno Taut, The City Crown (1919)
108. Otto Bartning, Church Architecture Today (1919)
109. Peter Behrens and Heinrich de Fries, On Low-Cost Building (1919)
110. Käthe Kollwitz, Diary Entry, 11 September 1919
111. Hermann Muthesius, Small House and Small-Scale Housing Development (1920)

III. Weltstadt—World City
11. Planning the World City
112. Martin Mächler, The Major Population Center and Its Global Importance (1918)
113. Bruno Möhring, On the Advantages of Tower Blocks and the Conditions under Which They Could Be Built in Berlin (1920)
114. Siegfried Kracauer, On Skyscrapers (1921)
115. Martin Mächler, On the Skyscraper Problem (1920–21)
116. Joseph Roth, If Berlin Were to Build Skyscrapers: Proposals for Easing the Housing Shortage (1921)
117. Adolf Behne, The Competition of the Skyscraper Society (1922–23)
118. Egon Erwin Kisch, The Impoverishment and Enrichment of the Berlin Streets (1923)
119. Ernst Kaeber, The Metropolis as Home (1926)
120. Karl Scheffler, Berlin Fifty Years from Now: Perspectives on One of the World’s Great Cities (1926)
121. Martin Wagner, Werner Hegemann, and Heinrich Mendelssohn, Should Berlin Build Skyscrapers? (1928)
122. Martin Wagner and Adolf Behne, The New Berlin–Berlin, World City (1929)
123. Martin Wagner, The Design Problem of a City Square for a Metropolis: The Competition of the “Verkehr” Company for the Remodeling of Alexanderplatz (1929)
124. Max Berg, The Platz der Republik in Berlin (1930)
125. Werner Hegemann, Berlin, City of Stone: The History of the Largest Tenement City in the World (1930)
126. Walter Benjamin, A Jacobin of Our Time: On Werner Hegemann’s Das steinerne Berlin (1930)
127. Hannes Küpper, The “Provinces” and Berlin (1931)
128. Adolf Hitler, Speech at Foundation-Stone Ceremony of the Faculty of Defense Studies, Berlin (1937)

12. Berlin Montage
129. Käthe Kollwitz, Diary Entry, 25 January 1919
130. Kurt Tucholsky, “Berlin! Berlin!” (1919)
131. “Sling” (pseud. Paul Schlesinger), The Telephone (1921)
132. Käthe Kollwitz, Diary Entry, 1 May 1922
133. Friedrich Kroner, Overstretched Nerves (1923)
134. Adolf Hitler, My Struggle (1926)
135. Joseph Roth, The Wandering Jew (1927)
136. Ernst Bloch, Berlin After Two Years (1928)
137. Alfred Döblin, Berlin (1928)
138. Franz Hessel, I Learn: Via Neukölln to Britz (1929)
139. Carl Zuckmeyer, The Berlin Woman (1929)
140. Moritz Goldstein, The Metropolis of the Little People (1930)
141. Karl Scheffler, Berlin: A City Transformed (1931)
142. Siegfried Kracauer, The New Alexanderplatz (1932)
143. Siegfried Kracauer, Locomotive over Friedrichstrasse (1933)
144. Jean Giraudoux, Berlin, Not Paris! (1931)
145. Ernst Erich Noth, The Tenement Barracks (1931)
146. Siegfried Kracauer, A Section of Friedrichstrasse (1932)
147. Gabrielle Tergit, Home is the 75 (or the 78) (1930)
148. Christopher Isherwood, A Berlin Diary (Winter 1932–33)

13. Work
149. Alfred Döblin, General Strike in Berlin (1922)
150. Ludwig Hilberseimer, Buildings for the Metropolis (1925)
151. Franz Hessel, On Work (1929)
152. Peter Panter (pseud. Kurt Tucholsky), Hang on a Moment! (1927)
153. Fritz Stahl, The Klingenberg Power Station at Berlin-Rummelsburg (1928)
154. Hermann Schmitz, Introduction to Siemens Buildings (1928)
155. Egon Erwin Kisch, Berlin at Work (1978)
156. Anonymous, A New High-Rise Building in Berlin: Architect Peter Behrens (1931)
157. Irmgard Keun, Gilgi—One of Us (1931)
158. Else Lasker-Schüler, The Spinning World Factory (1932)
159. Hans Fallada, Little Man, What Now? (1933)
160. Herbert Rimpl and Hermann Mäckler, A German Aircraft Factory: The Heinkel Works in Oranienburg (1938)

14. Commodities and Display
161. Alfred Döblin, Berlin Christmas (1923)
162. Alfred Gellhorn, Advertising and the Cityscape (1926)
163. Gerta-Elisabeth Thiele, The Shop Window (1926)
164. Peter Panter (pseud. Kurt Tucholsky), The Loudspeaker (1927)
165. Hans Cürlis, Night and the Modern City (1928)
166. Hugo Häring, Illuminated Advertising and Architecture (1928)
167. Joseph Roth, The Really Big Department Store (1929)
168. Alfred Wedemeyer, Berlin’s Latest Department Store (1929)
169. Ludwig Hilberseimer, The Modern Commercial Street (1929)
170. Alfons Paquet, City and Province (1929)

15. Housing
171. Fritz Schumacher, The Small Apartment (1919)
172. Kurt Tucholsky, 150 Kaiserallee (1920)
173. Bruno Taut, The New Home: Woman as Creative Spirit (1924)
174. Martin Wagner, Vienna—Berlin: Housing Policies Compared (1925)
175. Ludwig Hilberseimer, On Standardizing the Tenement Block (1926)
176. Leo Adler, Housing Estates in the Britz District of Berlin (1927)
177. Walter Gropius, Large Housing Estates (1930)
178. Werner Hegemann, Berlin and World Architecture: On the Berlin Building Exhibition (1931)
179. Martin Wagner, Administrative Reform (1931)
180. Ilse Reicke, Women and Building (1931)
181. Siegfried Kracauer, Building Exhibition in the East (1931)
182. Heinz-Willi Jüngst, Housing for Contemporaries (1932)
183. Gottfried Feder, The German Housing Development Board (1934)
184. Herbert Hoffmann, The Residential Estate on Berlin’s Grosse Leegestrasse (1936)
185. The Construction of Communities on the Basis of the People, the Land, and the Landscape (1940)

16. Mass and Leisure
186. Bruno Taut, On New Theaters (1919)
187. Egon Erwin Kisch, Elliptical Treadmill (1919)
188. Adolf Behne, Grosses Schauspielhaus, Scalapalast (1921)
189. Siegfried Kracauer, Rollercoaster Ride (1921)
190. Berliner Börsen-Courier, [Cinema] (1923)
191. Alfred Flechtheim, Gladiators (1926)
192. Gerhard Krause, The German Stadium and Sport Forum (1926)
193. Matheo Quinz, The Romanisches Café (1926)
194. Hans Poelzig, The Capitol Cinema (1926)
195. J-S, Review of Walther Ruttmann’s Film Berlin: The Symphony of a Great City (1927)
196. Leo Hirsch, Cinemas (1927)
197. Billy Wilder, Berlin Rendezvous (1927)
198. Siegfried Kracauer, Under Palm Trees (1930)
199. Curt Moreck, A Guide to “Licentious” Berlin (1931)
200. Siegfried Kracauer, Radio Station (1931)
201. Hermann Sinsheimer, Boxing Ring (1931)
202. Siegfried Kracauer, Berlin as a Summer Resort (1932)
203. Werner March, The Buildings of the National Sport Arena (1936)

17. Technology and Mobility
204. Friedrich Krause and Fritz Hedde, Swinemünder Bridge (1922)
205. Berliner Tageblatt, [Cycling in Berlin] (1923)
206. Joseph Roth, Declaration to the Gleisdreieck (1924)
207. Ignaz Wrobel (pseud. Kurt Tucholsky), Berlin Traffic (1926)
208. Billy Wilder, Nighttime Joyride over Berlin (1927)
209. Bernard von Brentano, The Pleasure of Motoring (c. 1928)
210. Vicki Baum, Grand Hotel (1929)
211. Siegfried Kracauer, Proletarian Rapid Transit (1930)
212. Peter Panter (pseud. Kurt Tucholsky), Traffic Passing over the House (1931)
213. Siegfried Kracauer, The Cult of the Automobile (1931)
214. Siegfried Kracauer, On Board the “Hamburg Flier”: Special Press Trip, Berlin to Hamburg (1933)
215. E. Neumann, Object—Subject (1934)
216. Anonymous, The Intercontinental Airport at Tempelhof (1938)
217. Jakob Werlin / Albert Speer, On the Autobahns of the Reich (1938)
218. Hans Stephan, The Autobahn (1939)

18. From Berlin to Germania
219. Siegfried Kracauer, Screams on the Street (1930)
220. Irmgard Keun, The Artificial Silk Girl (1932)
221. Heinrich Hauser, The Flood of Humanity at Tempelhof (1933)
222. Joseph Goebbels, Berlin Awakes (1934)
223. Herbert Hoffmann, The Air Ministry Building (1936)
224. Adolf Hitler, The Buildings of the Third Reich (1937)
225. The New Berlin Cityscape (1938)
226. Adolf Hitler, Speech at the Topping-Out Ceremony of the New Reich Chancellery (1938)
227. Hans Stephan, Berlin (1939)
228. Albert Speer, Replanning the Capital of the Reich (1939)
229. Adolf Hitler, Table Talk (1941)

Iain Boyd Whyte is Professor of Architectural History at the University of Edinburgh and author of Manmade Future (Routledge, 2007). David Frisby was Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and author of Cityscapes of Modernity: Critical Explorations (Cambridge, 2001).
“Rich and engrossing. . . . Berlin’s transformation takes place vividly before our eyes.”—Andrew Mead The Architectural Review
"An invaluable storehouse of material. . . . Astonishing in its range."—Ritchie Robertson Times Literary Supplement (TLS)
"Excellent."—Clifford Cunningham Sun News Miami
“Rich and engrossing. . . . Berlin’s transformation takes place vividly before our eyes.”—Andrew Mead The Architectural Review
"Metropolis Berlin is a superb collection of important texts. The selections are at once representative and delightfully off-beat; the editorial signposts are helpful but do not discourage rogue exploration or thematic innovation by the reader; and the presentation (from translation quality to layout design) is excellent. An absolute no-brainer, a must-have for every library, Germanist, and lover of Berlin."—Studies in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature
Metropolis Berlin evokes a kaleidoscopic panorama of impressions, opinions, and utopian hopes that constituted Berlin from the end of Imperial Germany to the rise of National Socialism. Iain Boyd Whyte and the late David Frisby invite the reader to be a flâneur in a truly great city, to marvel at the vitality of its urban spaces, and to listen to the cacophony of its voices and sounds. This extraordinary anthology of hundreds of documents tells the story of metropolitan Berlin by letting its inhabitants, visitors, and critics speak. A must have for every personal bookshelf and library.”—Volker M. Welter, Professor for Architectural History, University of California at Santa Barbara

"Metropolis Berlinis not merely a magnificent compendium of sources, but is also an exciting work of scholarship in its own right. It presents this global city, in all its architectural, urbanistic, and discursive richness and complexity, like no other volume before it."—Frederic J. Schwartz, author of Blind Spots: Critical Theory and the History of Art in Twentieth-Century Germany.

General Introduction

From imperial Rome to Renaissance Florence and nineteenth-century Paris and London, the great cities defined the social and political realities of the moment and gave them built form and pattern. The twenty-first century will see half the world's population living in urban areas, with older global cities such as London, New York, and Tokyo joined by new megacities emerging from the dramatic economic expansion of countries like China, India, and Brazil. Such radical changes force us to call into question and investigate the nature of urbanization and the concept of the big city. Over a century ago in Europe, the acceleration in urbanization, the rapid emergence of new cities, and the expansion of others into large urban conurbations stimulated similar debates on the nature of the modern city. Although earlier in the nineteenth century the expansion of London and the transformation of Paris under Haussmann had generated discussions on the nature of the modern city, by the late nineteenth century there was one European city in particular whose astonishing growth in only a few decades came to embody and symbolize the most modern city: Berlin.

Only after the victorious Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and the unification of Germany under Prussian leadership in 1871 did Berlin emerge as a European capital city to rival London, Madrid, or Paris. At a stroke, Berlin was transformed from the residence of the King of Prussia into the capital of the German Empire and the seat of the imperial government. In keeping with its new status as the undisputed center of German communications, transportation, business, and learning, and of the emerging electrical and chemical industries, Berlin expanded at a dizzying rate in response to an insatiable demand for talent, energy, and muscle. In the period from 1850 to 1890, the population of London almost doubled, that of Paris more than doubled, but that of Berlin more than quadrupled. This expansion accelerated after German unification, with Berlin's population growing from 826,000 in 1871 to 1.9 million in 1900 and 2.1 million by 1914: among the cities of the world, only Chicago came close over these years in its rate of expansion. By 1910, the staid but reliable Baedeker Guide declared imperial Berlin to be not only the most modern city in Europe but also greatest manufacturing center in continental Europe. Its industrial development was not to be found in the heart of the city, but was concentrated in the northern and eastern suburbs, in districts such as Moabit and Wedding, where major firms such as Börsig, AEG, and Siemens were located.

Berlin's dramatic expansion generated extensive theoretical discussion on what constitutes a city. At the same time, city building (Städtebau) and the enlargement of existing cities (Stadterweiterung) generated new fields of knowledge devoted to urban design and city planning, which addressed such issues as the wider parameters of urban expansion and growth, the regulation of this growth, and its infrastructural requirements. The very concept of the city itself was not without its ambiguities. The German word for "town" or "city"-Stadt-did not distinguish between the two. This raised, in turn, the question as to what made a large town (eine große Stadt) into a big city (eine Großstadt). Further, could the concept of a metropolis be subsumed under that of the city, or did it require another concept such as that of the world city (Weltstadt)? Such issues could not be resolved merely by a quantitative approach, despite the expansion of statistical data on cities and their characteristics in this period. Nonetheless, a social-statistics conference in 1887 did define a city as possessing a population of one hundred thousand inhabitants. By 1910 Germany possessed forty-nine cities so defined. The more difficult issue of the metropolis or world city was resolved by declaring that the world city possessed a minimum population of 1 million (Millionenstadt). According to this definition, Germany had only one world city-Berlin-with Hamburg in second place with a population of over nine hundred thousand. The largest urban conurbation at this time was the Rhine-Ruhr area, where conglomerations of cities did not achieve a unified city status. In contrast, the expansion of Berlin into Greater Berlin proceeded in part through the incorporation of those surrounding and independent cities with populations of over one hundred thousand, such as Charlottenburg-the wealthiest city in Germany-Rixdorf, Schöneberg, Wilmersdorf, and Lichtenberg. This process of incorporation created a Greater Berlin in 1920 with a total population of 4 million.

While the suburban edges of the city, near the lakes and forests, were developed as opulent green suburbs, with street upon street of grand villas, the great majority of the population was housed in large tenement blocks that entirely justified the descriptive title of Mietskaserne (rental barracks). This housing type, composed of large blocks set around internal courtyards, was not unique to Berlin but could be found in other German and Central European cities at this time, such as Leipzig, Prague, and Vienna. The Berlin variant, however, was overwhelming in its volume and in the appalling housing conditions that it generated. Symptomatically, the average life -expectancy of Berliners in 1871 was 36.5 years for men and 38 for women. Although all urban housing development depends upon landownership, credit supply, and building contracts, the Berlin condition was unique. In London, urban expansion was historically controlled by aristocratic landowners; in Paris it was a domain of banking capital. Berlin had neither large landowners nor banking capital interested in long-term capital deposits, with the result that the role of developer fell to the weakest link-namely, the building contractor, financed by mortgage credit secured house by house. This capricious mechanism for urban expansion and development was exacerbated by weak local government control, fragmented across the many independent townships that made up the city of Berlin in the late nineteenth century.

Germany's defeat in World War I marked the end of Berlin as an imperial capital and as the seat of monarchy. It also saw the removal of the German parliament to Weimar as a protective measure against the revolutionary uncertainties that followed the defeat in November 1918 and the abdication of the Kaiser. During the war and in its immediate aftermath, Berlin became the focus of intensely utopian and visionary expectations that found a particularly strong resonance among the architects. Although short-lived, this phase of ecstatic expectation acted as a powerful link between nineteenth-century romanticism and the quasi-religious and messianic hopes of redemption and salvation that impelled Germany toward dictatorship in the 1930s. It also promoted the consciously political dimension that marks much of the artistic production of Berlin in the 1920s.

Remarkably, given the economic constraints imposed in 1919 under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, the spiraling economic inflation of 1920-23, a malfunctioning democracy, and the political instability that afflicted Germany throughout the decade, Berlin blossomed in the 1920s. Particularly after the introduction of the Dawes Plan in 1924, Germany enjoyed a period of "relative stabilization" that lasted until 1929. As many commentators have noted, Berlin in the postwar decade was very aware of its modernity, of its generally positive reception of Americanization, and of its radical cultural production. The city itself was both dynamo and subject of this self-conscious modernization-a reciprocal relationship that found powerful expression in films such as Walter Ruttmann's Berlin, die Sinfonie einer Großstadt and Fritz Lang's Metropolis, both premiered in 1927, and in the harsh social commentaries of painters like Otto Dix and Georg Grosz. Even the factories, city streets, and gray tenement houses of Berlin found a sympathetic eye in Gustav Wunderwald, of whose painting the art critic Paul Westheim wrote: "It also has the hard, inhumane, and cool matter-of-factness of this most matter-of-fact of all the great European cities." This coolness and impersonality, however, found a positive expression in the contemporary European debates on architecture and urban design, in which Berlin played a preeminent role. Under the leadership of an enlightened Social Democratic city council and the housing associations promoted by the trade unions, Berlin became a laboratory for modern living. From the micro scale of the labor-saving kitchen to the macro scale of the new city quarter or the model town of the future, Berlin's architects, planners, and politicians developed the blueprints for twentieth-century urbanism in the industrialized world. Just as it is hard to think of industrial and product design without the Bauhaus model, so it is impossible to conceive of the global downtown without the glass office towers first proposed in the early 1920s by Mies van der Rohe for sites in Berlin.

Over the sixty years addressed by this volume, political and cultural modernism was sparked into life in Berlin, flourished, and was then mortally challenged. An ambitious and recently acquired empire collapsed, to be succeeded by new forms of democracy and of tyranny. Between 1900 and 1930, Berlin was a crucible of cultural modernity; after 1933 it was the epicenter of the National Socialist regime. This extraordinary history illuminates not only the nature and essence of both modernism and totalitarianism, but also their interrelationship, and reveals that avant-gardism in the arts did not necessarily go hand in hand with political liberalism. Nor did the National Socialist tyranny demand a consistent conservatism in the realm of artistic production. For modernism and fascism can be inextricably intertwined. As the texts in this volume indicate, some of the progressive cultural thought produced in 1920s Berlin was latently authoritarian by nature. Conversely, the arbiters of National Socialist taste were happy, on occasion, to embrace radical modernism in several areas of life.

This volume addresses not only the city of Berlin, but also the very nature of the emerging metropolis, as exemplified by Berlin. There are many ways of doing this: the approach could be statistical, in terms of demography and mortality; cultural, through the novels, paintings, and poetry stimulated by the nervous energy and danger of the city; or material, by reference to the volume of building, mileage of streets, energy provision, and the like. This dynamism also manifested itself, according to Walter Benjamin, in the language of the city, in its dialect: "The Berlin dialect is a language of people who have no time, who must often make themselves understood with a very short remark, a glance, half a word ... precisely because in Berlin all these people live together as large masses in the most diverse occupations and circumstances and at a remarkable speed. The Berlin dialect is today one of the nicest and truest expression of this racing tempo of life."

In selecting the texts for this volume, however, a particular ambition has been to delineate and describe the spaces of Berlin, for as Siegfried Kracauer presciently noted: "Spatial images are the dreams of society. Wherever the hieroglyphics of any spatial image are deciphered, there the basis of social reality presents itself." To capture the complexity of the city, the selected texts are drawn from a broad range of voices and expertise, embracing economic, sociological, literary, and technical analyses by architects, city planners, journalists, cultural critics, politicians, philosophers, and social theorists. A small number of fictional texts have also been included to give a sense of how it felt to live there.

Arranged in chronological sequence, the texts were all written during the years spanned by this book, and retrospective memoirs have been excluded. They have been chosen to exemplify the characteristic questions of the particular historical moment, be it structure planning in the 1890s, radical speculation on the nature of the city in the 1920s, or the replanning of the whole of Berlin as "Germania," capital of the Third Reich, in the late 1930s. As a hotbed of new ideas on urban life and planning, Berlin did not escape the radical gaze of the National Socialist ideologues, whose thoughts on the capital city are not locked away in a poison cupboard marked "post-1933" but, rather, incorporated into the mainstream debates on the city as they had evolved over the previous half century.

Following the reunification of the two Germanies in the late 1980s, Berlin captures the imagination once again as one of the great cities of the world. Out of the confusion of the divided Berlin of the Cold War, a reunited and reinvigorated city has emerged, in which a radical edginess is combined with an urbanity that is firmly embedded in Berlin's history. The texts in this volume offer a record of this defining history as it unfolded between 1880 and 1940.

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