What's Old is New Again in Berlin

Built in the 1880s, the Reichstag (now called the Bundestag) is once again the seat of the government of a united Germany.

The Reichstag was the seat of the Parliament before the Nazi takeover of Germany in the 1930s. An imposing structure built in the late 1800s, it was the backdrop for Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, when he was proclaimed chancellor by the ailing President von Hindenberg. A mysterious fire destroyed the building in that year. Hitler blamed the Communists, and used this event to seize even more power and overthrow the rule of law in Germany. There is evidence that Hitler’s goons set the fire. The building was severely damaged in WWII. An iconic photo taken on May 2, 1945 shows Russian soldiers hefting their flag atop the shattered roof of the building, with ruins of the city below. It sat unused until 1999, when it was rebuilt internally to hold the German Parliament. Nowadays, once can climb to the top of a glass dome and look down on the government at work. “Dem Deutschem Volk,” or For the German People is inscribed in heavy letters above the main entrance.

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