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German History in Documents and Images
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West Berlin U.S.A. Architecture (1952)
The ideologically-grounded criticisms leveled by the GDR leadership against Western culture also encompassed the field of architecture. In the eyes of East German functionaries, the architecture of West German office buildings and businesses, above all, replicated the American model, and thus stood as an architectural manifestation of all the evils of the capitalist system. This photograph shows the building of the Berlin Disconto-Bank. In 1949, after the Western Allies allowed the founding of new banks in Berlin's Western sectors, this bank was set up as the successor to the Deutscher Bank. The offical caption by the GDR news agency ADN reads: “West Berlin U.S.A. architecture. The Disconto Bank Palace on the corner of Potsdamer and Bülow Streets is among those concrete blocks that have transplanted profit-seeking and American cultural barbarism into the landscape of West Berlin.”