In the Wake of War

In the Wake of War : The Reconstruction of German Cities After World War II

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Description

In 1945 Germany's cities lay in ruins, destroyed by Allied bombers hat left major architectural monuments badly damaged and much of the housing stock reduced to rubble. At the war's end, observers thought that it would take forty years to rebuild, but by the late 1950s West Germany's cities had risen anew. The housing crisis had been overcome and virtually all important monuments reconstructed, and the cities had reclaimed their characteristic identities. Everywhere there was a mixture of old and new: historic churches and town halls stood alongside new housing and department stores; ancient street layouts were crossed or encircled by wide arteries; old city centers were balanced by garden suburbs laid out according to modern planning principles. In this book, Diefendorf examines the questions raised by this remarkable feat of urban reconstruction. He explains who was primarily responsible, what accounted for the speed of rebuilding, and how priorities were set and decisions acted upon. He argues that in such crucial areas as architectural style, urban planning, historic preservation, and housing policy, the Germans drew upon personnel, ideas, institutions, and practical experiences from the Nazi and pre-Nazi periods. Diefendorf shows how the rebuilding of West Germany's cities after 1945 can only be understood in terms of long-term continuities in urban development.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 424 pages
  • 158 x 230 x 36mm | 779.99g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • halftones, line drawings, tables
  • 0195072197
  • 9780195072198
  • 1,296,593

Review quote

Focusing on the experience of over thirty of Germany's largest cities, this is the first general account in English of the might efforts to rebuild urban Germany after 1945. The research effort and the command of detail are impressive and Professor Diefendorf tells the involved tale with clarity and style. * William Forsyth, University of York, EHR June '96 * 'A chapter on the post-war agencies of reconstruction and a short conclusion on the success and failure of the reconstruction programmes gives the book a happy symmetry ... a welcome contribution to the English-language literature on post-war German urbanism.' ITimes Literary Supplement 'The book succeeds splendidly in its objective of explaining the roles played by the architects, planners and government officials who were responsible for this swift transformation ... it will be of enormous interest to historians of modern Germany, urban geographers, town planners and architects. This impressive study is supported by a wide range of maps, diagrams, tables, photographs and sources culled by the author from over thirty archives. All this is woven into a detailed and fascinating analysis.' Frank McDonough, History Today, August 1994 'This is the first comprehensive study of the rebuilding of West Germany's cities following World War II ... Diefendorf presents a wealth of material on all aspects of reconstruction ... this is a detailed and scholarly study of social policy in Weimar Germany ... Elizabeth Harvey's lucid and scholarly analysis provides new insights into the troubled development of the Weimar welfare state, and adds important evidence to the debate over continuities in social policy between Weimar Germany and the Third Reich.' History: Europeanshow more

Back cover copy

In 1945, Germany's cities lay in ruins, destroyed by Allied bombers that left major architectural monuments badly damaged and much of the housing stock reduced to rubble. At the war's end, observers thought that it would take forty years to rebuild, but by the late 1950s West Germany's cities had risen anew. The housing crisis had been overcome and virtually all important monuments reconstructed, and the cities had reclaimed their characteristic identities. Everywhere there was a mixture of old and new: historic churches and town halls stood alongside new housing and department stores; ancient street layouts were crossed or circled by wide arteries; old city centers were balanced by garden suburbs laid out according to modern planning principles. In the Wake of War examines the questions raised by this remarkable feat of urban reconstruction. Jeffry M. Diefendorf explains who was primarily responsible for the reconstruction, what accounted for the speed of rebuilding, and how priorities were set and decisions acted upon. He argues that in such crucial areas as architectural style, urban planning, historic preservation, and housing policy, the Germans drew upon personnel, ideas, institutions, and practical experiences from the Nazi and pre-Nazi periods. Diefendorf shows how the rebuilding of West Germany's cities after 1945 can only be understood in terms of long-term continuities in urban development. The first comprehensive book in English on Germany's reconstruction, In the Wake of War examines postwar urban reconstruction from many perspectives, including architecture, historic restoration, housing, town planning and law, and it consistently interprets the features of Germanreconstruction within the context of continuous developments in these areas since the 1920s. This study will appeal to architects and urban planners as well as historians.show more

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