Most figures of power imagine themselves giving speeches to hundreds of thousands of devoted individuals in grandiose, oversized stadium-like settings. Hitler was no exception. The egomaniac surely spent hours of his time feeding his narcissism by picturing himself in this exact situation. Unfortunately, he had the appropriate financial backing and armies of men to build whatever edifice he could imagine. In this case, Hitler not only envisioned one obnoxiously large building. He visualized two of them: one full-sized and one trial-sized.
Crafting Deutsches Stadium
In 1937, hundreds of members of the German army began working on both buildings. The larger stadium was named Deutsches Stadium, and the plan was for the space to hold 400,000 people. That’s close to holding the entire population of Fresno, CA. Positioned hillside in Nuremberg, this massive construction would be a whopping 875 yards long, 50 yards wide, and 100 yards tall. However, quicker progress was made on the smaller of the two buildings.
The trial-sized structure was located 25 miles outside of the city, on a hillside extremely similar to the original. This one was expected to hold 40,000 patrons, or a tenth of the Deutsches Stadium. Wanting to monitor the process, Hitler paid a visit to the site. It was March of 1938, and he was thrilled. One of his visions was coming to life before his eyes. The concrete foundations were laid, and the spectator seats began to speckle the landscape. New thoughts came to his mind. He dreamed of hosting many future Olympic games in this stadium, as well as having it host his numerous speeches.
Construction Comes To A Halt
September 1939 brought with it the haunting images of World War II. Construction on both buildings came to a screeching halt. The village near the beginnings of the smaller building was completely destroyed by Allied troops. The wood from the numerous seats was taken down and used to help rebuild the area. This was the same wood that had years earlier been taken from the surrounding forests near the area, and it became crucial in the area’s process of becoming a town again.
The two buildings were just one example of Hitler’s plans that fortunately came crashing down. No Nazi spectator would ever squint from a bad top row seat to catch a fuzzy glimpse of the ruthless demagogue. No gold-medalist would ever perform on the spacious field below.
Stones Of Silence
The concrete foundations that were laid decades ago are all that remains of the partially-completed stadium. Even today, the stones look overgrown and carry an ominous tone about them. Each piece of forgotten rock jutting out between the sprawls of trees eerily resembles early era gravemarkers.
The area itself may not even catch a wanderer’s eye upon approaching. What was once going to be a ground holding a record-breaking arena is now a protected historic monument, a quiet nod to the survivors and victims of the downfall of the wicked Nazi regime.