Amazing Photo Collection Of The Fuehrerbunker in Berlin

We will be taking a look at the bunkers used by Adolf Hitler and his entourage in Berlin. There were two bunkers connected to each other, Fuhrerbunker and the Reichskanzleibunker (Reich Chancellery bunker).

 

The Reich Chancellery bunker was initially constructed as a temporary air-raid shelter for Hitler (who spent very little time in the capital during most of the war). The increased bombing of Berlin led to an expansion of the complex as an improvised permanent shelter.

The elaborate complex consisted of two separate shelters:

  • The Vorbunker ( “forward bunker”; the upper bunker), completed in 1936.  Number 14 on the drawing below.
  • The Führerbunker (number 10 on the drawing below), located 8.2 ft lower than the Vorbunker and to the west-southwest, completed in 1944.
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This is the area in which the pictures were taken; the bunker can be seen in red. Map by Christoph Neubauer

 

 

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A more detailed map of the bunker

A more detailed map of the bunker (click on it for a bigger version)

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A rare picture of Hitler meeting Großadmiral Karl Dönitz taken inside the Fuhrerbunker, shortly before his suicide.
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Winston Churchill exits the Fuhrerbunker after an inspection, note the cans

 

 

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During a visit in 1945, Churchill sits on one of the damaged chairs from Hitler’s bunker in Berlin.

 

 

The front of the new Reich Chancellery, after it was completed, the bunkers were located at the back of the building.
The front of the new Reich Chancellery, after it was completed, the bunkers were located at the back of the building.

 

 

Hitlers Chancellery Berlin 1945
Hitlers Chancellery Berlin 1945

 

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Ruins of garden of Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler & Fuhrerbunker Berlin 1945

 

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Sightseers walk amid the ruins of Hitler’s air raid shelter, sometimes referred to as Hitler’s “tombstone”.

 

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The remains of the bunker in 1947, note the ventilation air turret as seen on the first picture

 

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The same ventilation air turret as seen on the picture above but a slightly different angle, 1947

 

Reopening the bunker

These pictures were taken in August 1980 when the Reich Chancellery bunker was reopened for a short while; all pictures are courtesy of the German Bundesarchiv.

Entrance to the Reichskanzleibunker.
(Emergency) Entrance to the Reichskanzleibunker at the Potsdammerplatz.

 

The entrance to the Reichskanzlei bunker at the Potsdammerplatz.
The entrance to the Reichskanzlei bunker at the Potsdammerplatz.

 

Inside the Reich Chancellery bunker
Inside the Reich Chancellery bunker

 

Demolition

It was decided by the Russians that no trace of the Fuhrerbunker should remain. In 1947 all parts of the building above ground were demolished and the bunker sealed. In the 1980s the Fuhrerbunker was dug up and then destroyed completely.

 

LuftschutzrŠume des ãKleinen BunkersÒ der Neuen Reichskanzlei, vom Grundwasser Ÿberschwemmt. Die Anlage befand sich ursprŸnglich sŸdlich des so genannten Ehrenhofs an der PrŠsidialkanzlei und wurde wŠhrend des Krieges durch Regierungsmitarbeiter und Hitlers Bedienstete genutzt. Die Neue Reichskanzlei war 1935 bis 1943 nach PlŠnen Albert Speers an der Wilhelm-, Vo§- und der damaligern Hermann-Gšring-Stra§e als umfangreiche und monumentale Erweiterung des ursprŸnglichen Reichskanzlerpalais von Carl Friedrich Richter und dem ReichskanzleigebŠude von Eduard Jobst Siedler und Robert Kisch errichtet worden. Die prunkvolle Anlage diente in erster Linie Hitlers ungezŸgelten ReprŠsentationsansprŸchen. Zur Ausstattung gehšrten auch mehrere Luftschutzanlagen im Kellergeschoss: der so genannte Gro§e Bunker, welcher in den letzten Wochen des Zweiten Weltkrieges vor allem durch militŠrische StŠbe genutzt wurde, der hier auf dem Foto zu erkennende so genannte Kleine Bunker u. a. Die Neue Reichskanzlei war unterirdisch mit dem so genannten FŸhrerbunker verbunden, der sich im nšrdlich angrenzenden Garten befand. Die kriegsbeschŠdigten oberirdischen Bauten der gesamten Reichskanzlei wurden auf sowjetische Veranlassung 1949/50 abgetragen und das planierte Areal wurde ab 1961 Sperrgebiet direkt an der Berliner Mauer. Die weiter westlich gelegenen Bunker der Neuen Reichskanzlei befanden sich nun unterhalb des Todesstreifens. Im Rahmen eines Wohnungsbauprojektes an der Otto-Grotewohl-Stra§e (Wilhelmstra§e) wurden die unterirdischen Anlagen šstlich der Berliner Mauer 1987/88 ausgegraben und bis auf die Bodenplatten beseitigt. Das vorliegende Foto entstand wŠhrend dieser Abrissarbeiten.
More pictures of the demolition can be seen on bunker-neue-reichskanzlei.lumabytes.com

 

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1960s wastelands where the bunker used to be.

Today

These two pictures show the location of the bunker as it is today.

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The buildings on the right are in roughly the same location as the Reich Chancellery was

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Same location but looking to the left of the previous picture

Adolf Hitler is remembered for the terrible destruction of WWII. Before that, he served with courage in WWI. That first conflict deeply influenced his future.

Hitler Before the War

Before WWI, Hitler was an unpromising individual. Coming from the Austrian lower middle class, he was constantly frustrated by his inability to rise in society. He saw himself as an intellectual and part of the Austrian Empire’s German elite. Others saw him as a drifter working in odd jobs, who fled to Germany rather than accept military service alongside Czechs, Croats, and Jews, whom he despised.

The Bavarian Reserve

Hitler had dodged the Austrian draft, but he was no coward. When WWI broke out, he volunteered for service in the Bavarian army. Although part of Germany, Bavaria maintained an independent army. The Austrian Hitler petitioned for the right to join that army. On August 16, 1914, he became part of the 16th Bavarian Reserve Regiment.

Hitler during WW1
The Massacre of the Innocents

Within months, Hitler took part in one of the most traumatic battles the German army experienced.  In October 1914, both sides were stretched thin as they raced to close the gap between their lines and the sea. Reserve regiments including the 16th Bavarian Reserve were rushed from inadequate training to fill the lines around Ypres.

In late October, those reserves were sent into action against the depleted but experienced soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force. The fresh German recruits suffered terrible casualties to no gain. The 16th went into battle with 3,600 men. Within four days, they had only 611 unwounded survivors. By December, Hitler’s company of 250 soldiers was down to 42.

The loss of so many young men deeply unsettled the Germans; they called it the Massacre of the Innocents. For his part in the fighting, Hitler was promoted to lance-corporal and recommended for the Iron Cross Second Class.