MsBurb has been doing allot of day-dreaming this last couple of weeks…
While the world has been on the ground, looking forward, I’ve been in the air looking backward, soaring approximately 600 feet up in the air, hovering over the south-eastern most tip of the Germany, gazing down at Bavaria, 65 years back in time, this very week.
The world back then was a very different place.
There wasn’t a civilized country on the globe which hadn’t been affected by the events in Europe during WWII.
But after five years, nearly 50 million civilian, soldier and concentration camp deaths, the Allies were finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel, the Americans and British slowly edging farther East and the Soviets edging farther South and West. The goal: to meet in the centre of Berlin after the fall and complete unconditional surrender of the Third Reich.
This week, back then, the world was gazing forward, all eyes on Berlin, waiting and hoping that the call to “cease fire” would not wait one minute more.
Wireless radios were tuned to the BBC, families gathered in their living rooms to listen to the updates, and while a stout man who sat in his own underground war room anxiously awaited tactical updates in London, another stout man with a shaking arm, sitting in a bunker of his own in Berlin, slowly began to accept the looming defeat and prepared for the end.
If I had been born in ‘45, my gaze would not have been Berlin-bound. My gaze would have been as it is in my mind’s eye today, soaring over a certain mountainous hillside, the physical embodiment of what Adolf Hitler hoped would be the future utopia for all of Europe – an Obersalzberg-like “Germania” – the Fatherland of a pure Aryan race.
We all know the story and the horrid details, but with every documentary film televised and every article written this week on the 65th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s suicide in the Reichstag Fuhrerbunker in Berlin (occurring only ten days after his 56th birthday, 65years ago today, and only days before the Soviets broke through the last remaining German stronghold), my thoughts have not been focused on the end but rather on the beginning of what could have been a plausible feat if racism, revenge and blind domination had not been in the mix.
Hitler couldn’t have picked a more idyllic location for his “Germania” inspiration than the little Bavarian hamlet of
Long before National Socialism, long before the formation of the Third Reich, the village of Berchtesgaden and the Obersalzberg region nearby had been a spa resort/retreat for the German rich and famous. No industry, clean alpine air and decor reminiscent of better Germanic days was what attracted poets and artists, industrialists and celebrities alike to this southernmost region of Germany that borders on Austria.
Hitler himself began visiting this alpine retreat in 1923 and returned to write the second part of
It was here, in this Bavarian fantasy world that the plans to invade Russia were formulated and status reports on the “Final Solution” to the Jewish question were given to the Fuhrer. Movie newsreels would capture many a diplomatic visit by such notables as the
Duke and Duchess of Windsor,
David Lloyd George
and then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain,
the latter visiting Hitler several times in an attempt at pre war appeasement that was doomed to fail.
No diplomatic effort ever succeeded to change Hitler’s urge for world domination; yet, if he himself had stopped at only acquiring the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia, the world, Germany and Hitler’s reign may have been very different.
In 1938, one year before the start of WWII, Hitler’s Berghof had even been featured in
the then popular British Homes & Gardens magazine,
as the epitome of Bavarian perfection that it was.
Yet, all that he had and all that he had acquired, right up until the start of World War II, wasn’t enough for this megalomaniac…and more’s the pity in terms of his lost dream of that Bavarian “Germania” that had been his original wish.
It’s truly amazing what hate can do to a person who has the will and the drive and the passion and the power to achieve great things, and swaps all that for the total destruction of oneself and one’s goal for a Utopia that had been in Adolf’s grasp.
The townsfolk of Berchtesgaden, since 1945, have tried to make a concerted effort to wash away those awful, embarrassing years, and return to their former glory as a spa town for the rich and famous. Yet, as of today, the newly built
American Intercontinental Hotel is never more than 53% full, so the shadow of the Third Reich and Hitler’s reign over this area still looms large.
All that remains of the Berghof today is over-grown land ( see “X” ) seen easily from the
balcony of the Hotel Zum Turken (see arrow #1), with saplings ( see arrow#2 and circle) that have refused to stop growing from the original bombed out Linden tree
that Hitler’s henchman, Martin Bormann had planted for him for shade when he chose to watch from the driveway entrance the almost non-stop parade of propaganda-placed well-wishers flow past his Obersalzberg retreat.
on the property to identify its location as the former site of the Berghof but that is all that’s been done to this property since the Berghof garage was finally torn down in the 90s.
Maybe some day, when the spectre of Hitler’s ghost is finally put to rest with the deaths of the remaining people who lived during this era, Berchtesgaden and the Obersalzberg can again regain their former glory. And maybe years from now the whisper of the original architectural and geographical dream of “Germania” will be heard among the trees on a certain mountain side, the likes of which MsBurb has been soaring above this week, in her mind’s eye.