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Google Earth adds WWII aerial shots of Berlin

The Local · 7 Dec 2009, 16:52

Published: 07 Dec 2009 16:52 GMT+01:00

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Using Allied aerial intelligence images shot on March 21, 1945 provided by the US National Archive, the geography program’s makers have created a patchy historical map of the German capital city’s Mariendorf, Mitte, and Prenzlauer Berg districts following the extensive bombing of the war and the Soviet assault on the German capital.

Users must have the updated 5.0 version of Google Earth before they can click on the tiny clock in the program’s toolbar where a sliding time scale takes them back to 1945. Here they will find huge craters that speckle the Tempelhof airfield, a gutted Reichstag surrounded by a treeless Tiergarten and the once grand Unter den Linden boulevard leading to the hollowed-out dome of the Berlin Cathedral.

If they slide the time scale to the right, they can compare this apocalyptic landscape to that of 1953, where one begins to see the results of rebuilding efforts after the war. These later photos were provided by the aerial photo data bank in Würzburg, and can also be compared to contemporary images.

The Berlin historical view launched on November 6 and joins other historical views of US cities Las Vegas, Nevada and San Francisco, California.

“Most active users of Google Earth outside of the US are located in Germany,” Google spokesperson Stefan Keuchel told The Local. “It’s been like that for years. Germans really like this product,” he said, adding that its popularity helped inspire the most recent project for Berlin.

Story continues below…

The new feature follows this year’s springtime launches of the German Street View function and a 3-D format for the virtual globe’s Berlin map, which allows virtual tours of some 500,000 buildings and 80 detailed models of landmarks.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:50 December 7, 2009 by Celeon
Nope. As the US Army Air Corps saw it.

The brits bombed at night and did not saw much at all.
17:53 December 7, 2009 by Mauer
stupid comments...

or maybe you mean what the Allies did to Berlin and Germany during the WW2?!
20:20 December 7, 2009 by Major B
What a great picture!! Just one more reminder of the most terrible conflict to befall mankind!!! Just one more picture to get the timbers of this long ago(64 years ago) conflict rekindled and get the grandchildren incensed over what was done. Get over WWII already!!!!!
20:22 December 7, 2009 by moreanon
Most of the chancellory is blanked out, although there are two large craters visible in the chancellory gardens. The city still has a desolate appearance in 1953.
20:58 December 7, 2009 by OMFG
This is where Germany's parliament is nowadays - isn't that cool?
03:16 December 8, 2009 by Davey-jo
Are they going to do Coventry or Hamburg or Hiroshima?
03:30 December 8, 2009 by wood artist
While I agree that this is just another reminder of things in the past, it is also a valuable tool for people doing research. As an author working on novels set in Berlin before, during, and after the war, this is invaluable. It doesn't change anything that happened, regardless of your perspective. It does, however, help us all understand what resulted from the decisions made.

It is possible to argue all sides of the subject, concluding only that we would eventually agree to disagree about much of it. That's fine. History is seldom cut and dried, and there are always differing opinions about intentions and results. Let's just agree that what happened to Berlin was terrible, and hope collectively that it never happens again to anyone. That much I think we can agree upon.
20:07 December 8, 2009 by lordwilliams629
Major B, is it just that you don't want people educated on something you disagree with. Tough s..hit Major B, it's great when anything on history can be posted or printed, see it's part of an education process we need to keep alive in this world. See your beleifs in censorship don't educate people.
22:46 December 10, 2009 by Thames
Most of the damage done by air was nothing but terrisom.
15:06 December 11, 2009 by arizonagal
...... "those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it"......

I recommend that Google include Dresden in their pics too......
07:02 December 12, 2009 by ovbg
Sorry, have I missed something here? The article states "The new feature follows this year¦#39;s springtime launches of the German Street View function"... I have yet to see any part of Germany represented in Street View which is something I have been waiting for for a while. Could this by a typo, and what was meant to say is upcoming German Street View function next spring?
16:47 February 4, 2010 by tollermann
You know Thames, I would like to see my German brothers and sisters see just what supporting an Austrian usurper ultimately brought their country. As the saying goes, their would not have been a Nagasaki or Hiroshima if their had not been a Pearl Harbor...ditto for Berlin, Terrorism it was not, but retribution for total war it was!
05:30 February 5, 2010 by Oman
Google makes discovering Europe very interesting and how terrible for the Citizens of all the towns they had shown to be bombed.

Did Google include any pictures of Britain or was it off the map?

By the end of May 1941more than a million houses were destroyed or damaged in London alone by German bombing (how much was that as a proportion of the homes in London ?).

I used to watch 1950s Ealing Comedy films (Passport to Pimlico etc ) which were set in London and remember that the City really did look like a bomb site even 10 years after the end of the war.

London was not the only city to suffer Luftwaffe bombing during the Blitz- Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Clydebank, Coventry, Exeter, Greenock, Sheffield, Swansea, Liverpool, Hull, Manchester, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Nottingham, Brighton, Eastbourne, Sunderland and Southampton, suffered heavy air raids and high numbers of casualties.
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