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The Architectural Manifestation of Political Power

Part 1 Dissertation 1998
Dianna Floud
University of Sheffield Sheffield UK
Can dictatorships inspire and produce great art, or is it
merely for manipulation of the masses that it exists at all. The use of
architecture and art as tools of propaganda are complex and assume many
different guises. The aim of the study is to investigate whether or not
architecture can be political, by examining a very distinct political
event - the annual Nazi party rally held each September at Nuremberg
from 1927 to 1939.

The dissertation discusses first the grand scale of architecture and the
career of Albert Speer. It then examines Nazi architecture and cultism
generally before tracing the series of Nuremberg rallies, giving
detailed accounts of those in 1933 and 1934. It analyses the film treatment. In
the conclusion, three ideas are assessed: architecture as celebration of
victory in battle, architecture as propaganda, and architecture for
performance, ritual and ceremony.

Bibliography

Blundel-Jones, P.(1996) ‘Architecture and Political Legitimization’, The Architectural Review, no 1193 July

Burden, H.T.(1967) ‘The Nuremberg Party Rallies 1923-1939’, London, Frederick A. Praeger

Hobsbawm, E. (1995) ‘Foreword’ in Ades, D. et al.(Ed) Art and Power, Europe under the dictators 1930-45, London, Hayward Gallery

Speer, A (1970) ‘Inside the Third Reich’, trans. R. Winston & C, Winston, New York, Macmillan

Dianna Floud


This is an admirable dissertation, concentrating on a limited topic and getting much out of it. It involved original research and obtaining obscure material, also the arranging some translations of important passages from the German. All this was the student's initiative. It is well organised and well written, with the necessary supporting illustrations, some obtained from the British Library. She has gone a long way towards reconstructing the way in which the political events were choreographed, therefore coming to an understanding of how the buildings and spaces were used. The evidence of Leni Riefenstahl's film is also well employed in setting the picture.

By bringing to light further evidence of its subject, this dissertation
adds to our understanding of the relationship between architecture and
politics. It shows how architecture can be used as a propaganda
instrument not only though its appearance but in its very organisation.
It shows also a tradition being invented and a regime being given a spurious past. It is an excellent example of how very detailed study at this stage can pay off in a way that the more generalised approach taken by the majority of students often does not.

PROFESSOR PETER BLUNDELL JONES

1998
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