Upon coming to power, Hitler vowed to bring Nazi Germany back to the "good old days" - to its former glory. He did this through many means throughout his reign as both chancellor and F"uher. Many of which are now famous worldwide - the massive army building and propaganda campaign just being one of such. But something that is perhaps all too often overlooked is the Nazi use of sculpture and Architecture within Germany. During his youth Hitler applied to the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, and was rejected both times. He was told that he excelled in architecture, which he later realised to be true.
"The purpose of my trip was to study the picture gallery in the Court Museum, but I had eyes for scarcely anything but the Museum itself. From morning until late at night, I ran from one object of interest to another, but it was always the buildings which held my primary interest". (Mein Kampf, Chapter II, paragraph 3). It is quite fitting then that Hitler should use his fascination with architecture and sculpture to his advantage within Nazi Germany.
Hitler already regarded many ancient cultures such as the Romans and Greeks as being early forms of the Aryan race and admired their architecture greatly, and as previously mentioned Hitler wanted to restore Germany to its former glory. Therefore he replaced the semi-contemporary architecture with the more classical, ancient architecture which gave way to the first nationalist architecture. Whilst doing so he (or rather Speer) modified it. This was so that it did not simply recreate the past, but to bring Germany a new future through the ideals of the German and / or Aryan past.
Albert Speer was the chief architect in Nazi Germany and designed many of the buildings situated in Germany today including the Nuremburg Zeppelin field and the German Pavilion. He constructed his architecture without using reinforcement techniques or concrete to give what he called "ruin value". The idea behind this was that years from being built the buildings would leave "aesthetically pleasing ruins" much like the roman coliseum or Greek theatres. This idea pleased Hitler who enjoyed the idea of Immortal fame. In general there were 2 different forms of Nazi architecture. The neo-classical style was usually used on imperial and state buildings and on buildings in urban areas.
In the countryside a more relaxed form of v"olkisch was often used with a focus on folklore and the organic. Both of these styles also embodied the Aryan culture. Some say that Nazi Architecture was like another form of propaganda. It often incorporated tall, dominating structures to give the people hope and to inspire them, to make them see what a great country Germany could be.
This effect was often reinforced when a lot of the architecture was adorned with great eagles and swastikas, symbols of the Nazi Party. Most architecture also embodied what the Nazi Party stood for and made links to the past and the proud German heritage. Hitler himself said that he saw architecture as "The Word In Stone" - as a way of inferring a message, but the message should be one easily understood by the people. The people shouldn't understand it because they were forced to. The neo-classical style of architecture used in Germany is said to have almost a cultic feel about it.
It embodied the Nazi's almost like gods. It was even proposed that two "martyr temples" be built in a large German square to hold the bodies of Nazi martyrs so that future generations could look upon and admire them. These types of Nazi ideas were not so far removed from paganism; they encouraged the worship of idols or figures that had brought them success. Though it has never been acclaimed that this is what was intended, the idea is not so far-fetched when you see that the existence Nazi mysticism was "unchallenged" and that Some high ranking Nazi officials such as Richard Walther Darr'e, Rudolf Hess, Heinrich Himmler, Alfred Rosenberg are credited with an interest in the occult. Germany itself was actually Pagani stic prior to Christianization, and as previously stated Hitler had admitted that he enjoyed the idea of immortal fame. Perhaps this was another, underlying reason for Nazi architecture.
The Nazi's used architecture in many ways and to great effect. It inspired the people, gave them hope, gave Germany a new, more imperialistic look and helped Hitler to keep his promise of taking Germany back to the good old days. I think it is inarguable that Hitler used architecture well in Nazi Germany and also that the architecture was used for more reasons than simply making buildings look ornate. However I think it becomes hard to analyse to end he used it when you delve much deeper than the obvious. Propaganda was far more than likely to be a reason, because the Nazis used propaganda all throughout their reign and Hitler himself admitted that he saw architecture as "The Word In Stone.".