February 12th, 2024

Hitler’s Eagles Nest: A Statement of Monumentality

In February, at over 6,000ft in elevation, the Eagle’s Nest lies dormant under a thick mantle of snow. The infamous structure straddles the Kehlstein mountain peak and, as if frozen in time, it has preserved its original appearance. Constructed as an ostentatious venue to impress and entertain foreign dignitaries and Third Reich leaders, the Eagle’s Nest formed part of Hitler’s expansive southern headquarters located halfway down the mountain at Obersalzberg above Berchtesgaden. Though the Eagle’s Nest is a relatively small building, the deliberate choice of constructing a diplomatic stronghold out of granite on a mountain peak is a clear expression of Hitler’s self-aggrandizement and thirst for monumentality. To this effect, the following excerpts from my new book, → Exposing the Reich, help explain this particular aspect of National Socialist propaganda:

“With the unstoppable passage of time, a civilization’s most visible cultural legacy is that of its architecture. A culture’s physical monuments bear witness to the artistic achievements of its people as much as its literature, music or art.

In the same way that Hitler fashioned the new German politics, military goals and foreign diplomacy, he appointed himself as the nation’s prime architect of its rebuilding. Undoubtedly, his purpose was a combination of self-glorification and megalomania as is apparent in the building plans of exaggeratedly over-proportioned structures, such as the future German stadium in Nuremberg, a colossus with seating capacity of over 400,000.

In an address at the 1935 Party Rally Hitler developed a couple of themes, among others: ‘Germany’s cultural greatness was to be manifested in its architectural achievements’ and ‘to exhibit their ideological pre-eminence, state and party buildings should be grander than other structures and as impressive as the great structures of the past’. 1

Wort aus Stein (word out of stone) is how Hitler referred to his architectural creations or, simply said, Third Reich ideology manifested in monumental structures.” 2

If you would like to learn more about Hitler’s former HQs in the Bavarian Alps you can also book a private tour with us at → www.eagles-nest-tours.com/booking

If you are planning to visit the Eagle’s Nest I strongly recommend taking a look at the Berchtesgaden Tourist Board’s site. Not only does it give you pertinent information about the Eagle’s Nest but also about other sites of interest in Berchtesgaden. This exceptional formal principality has a surprisingly extensive list of sites of historic interest and natural beauty such as the old town center with its royal palace, Lake Königssee and the salt mine, among others. → https://www.berchtesgaden.de/en/general-information

  1. ‘Art and Politics’ in Liberty, Art and Nationhood: Three Addresses Delivered at the Seventh National Socialist Congress, Nuremberg, 1935
  2. Frederic Spotts (2002): Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics p. 321