Journal Article


Building the visible immortality of the nation: The centrality of "rooted modernism" to the Third Reich’s architectural new order

Abstract

This article sets out to contribute conceptual clarity to the growing recognition of the modern and futural dynamic behind fascist cultural projects by focusing on projects for architectural renewal under the Third Reich. It starts by reviewing the gradual recognition of the futural temporality of the regime’s culture. It then introduces the concept ‘rooted modernism’ and argues for its application not only to the vernacular idioms of some of the Reich’s new buildings, but also to the International Style and machine aesthetic deployed in many Nazi technological and industrial buildings. The article’s main focus is on the extensive use made in the new civic and public architecture under Nazism (and Fascism) of ‘stripped classicism’. This was a form of neo-classicism widely encountered in both democratic and authoritarian states throughout the inter-war period, and which can be understood as an alternative strand of architectural modernism co-existing with more overtly avant-garde experiments in reshaping the built environment. The case is then made for applying a new conceptual framework for evaluating the relationship to modernity and modernism of architectural projects, not just in fascist cultural production, but that of the many authoritarian right-wing regimes of the period which claimed to embrace the national past while striving for a dynamic, heroic future. This opens up the possibility for historians to engage with the complex cultural entanglements and histoires croisées of revolutionary with modernizing conservative states in the ‘fascist era’.

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Authors

Griffin, Roger D.

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of History, Philosophy and Religion


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License


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