Propaganda, experimentalism and tradition in the reconstruction of Reims Reims Great War War damages Reconstruction Urban planning

Journal title STORIA URBANA
Author/s Maria Rosaria Vitale
Publishing Year 2015 Issue 2014/145 Language Italian
Pages 39 P. 51-89 File size 1077 KB
DOI 10.3280/SU2015-145003
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The destructive impact of the Great War deeply affected the perception of Reims in the collective imagination. The fire of the cathedral occurred at the beginning of the incessant bombings that - along the four years of the conflict - destroyed over 60% of the town. Based on this first tragic event, the war rhetoric produced the symbol of a razed to the ground and martyred town. Its most significant icon was the "Cathédrale des Sacres" violated by the German bombs and reduced to ruins. The subsequent debate that involved the Western world consolidated this myth of "sacrifice" and "resurrection" of Reims, together with its most famous monument. A dispute began already during the conflict concerning the alternatives of reconstructing or maintaining the ruins as a memory of the outrage. Up to the mid-twenties, the reconstruction of the city was carried out, mixing experimentalism and compromise. On the other hand, the monuments reconstruction continued for several decades, in some cases ending after the Second World War. This great building site shows how the instances of technical, administrative and financial renewal met the oppositions to changes, and indicates the continuity and discontinuity in the fields of architecture and restoration before and after the war.

Maria Rosaria Vitale, Propaganda, sperimentalismo e tradizione nella ricostruzione di Reims in "STORIA URBANA " 145/2014, pp 51-89, DOI: 10.3280/SU2015-145003