Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
Here´s a little series of images showing Potsdamer Bahnhof and its environs between 1936 and 1946. So great was the damage suffered during WWII by the Potsdam Railway Station as well as the railway line south of it (the railway bridges were bombed) that the station was rendered useless and its ruins eventually removed. Image No. 1 presents all the reasons why.
An aerial image of this area provided by Mr RG Poulussen (again, a big thank you for this) tells us another interesting story: taken on September 6, 1943 it shows a more or less completely intact neighbourhood. It had been taken approximately 2 months before some of the heaviest air-raids on Germany´s capital.
However, some sections of the architecture are missing: there is a big “hole” half-way down Potsdamer Straße and a bridge over the Landwehrkanal just west of the railway bridges are missing. Where those the first victims of the bombings?
Well, no. As it turns out, they were victims of another storm brewing over Berlin´s old centre: its name was Germania, the world capital in spe. What was a wild guess was quickly confirmed by online search through the pages of the Senate Department for Urban Development Berlin: both the historical Eichhornstraße as well as Schellingstraße – the smaller streets north of the canal and west of Potsdamer Bahnhof – would have been completely demolished anyway.
They were in the way of the future Nord-West-Axis, one of the two grand boulevards designed by Albert Speer to meet the wishes of his megalomaniac Führer. Speer´s 1930s sketches leave no room for doubt: both the bridge, Königin-Augusta-Brücke (not to be confused with Kaiserin-Augusta-Brücke in Moabit) and the missing architecture on the corner of Schelling- and Eichhonstraße were just the beginning of a much longer process which would have left this part of the locality of Tiergarten more or less gone anyway.
There is something ironic about the fact that they were destroyed during WWII to prevent Hitler from realising that plan: to prevent him from having a reason to build Germania in the first place.