The Siegesallee was a broad boulevard in Berlin, Germany. In 1895, Kaiser Wilhelm II ordered and financed the construction and expansion of an alley with a variety of marble statues. About 750 m in length, it ran northwards through the Tiergarten park from Kemperplatz, to the site of the Berlin Victory Column at the Königsplatz. Along its length the Siegesallee cut across the Charlottenburger Chausee, the marble monuments and the neobaroque ensemble were ridiculed even by its contemporaries. Berlin folkore dubbed the Kaiser Denkmalwilly for his excessive historicism, moves to have the statues demolished were thwarted after the end of the monarchy in 1919. The Siegessäule and the figures were moved by the Nazi government to the Große Stern in 1939 to allow for military parades. Some of the monuments were lost in the aftermath of the Second World War, the allied forces had the alley erased and the area replanted. The Soviet War Memorial was erected there, deliberately crossing the former Victor Avenue of its foes in an act immediately after the end of the war. Currently the remaining figures are being repaired and exhibited in Spandau and they will be part of the exhibition Enthüllt – Berlin und seine Denkmäler. The track itself has recently reconstructed as a footpath. It was on 27 January 1895, the 36th birthday of William II, German Emperor, dedicated on 18 December 1901, they consisted firstly of 32 main statues, each about 2. The whole construction was widely derided by art critics, and regarded by many Berliners as grossly over-indulgent and it was dubbed the Puppenallee, as well as the Avenue of the Puppets, Plaster Avenue, and other unsavoury titles. The term Puppen has been used before, even the Emperor’s own wife Augusta Viktoria, had reportedly been unhappy about it and had tried to persuade him not to go ahead with it, but all to no avail. Just one woman has been depicted, Elisabeth of Bavaria praying on her knees before her husband, the lack of women was already noted by the contemporaries. Some of the turned on the fact that Italian artisans in Berlin did the actual sculpting while artists of the Berliner Bildhauerschule just provided models in plaster or clay. Wilhelms opening speech, the infamous Rinnsteinrede, portrayed Modernism and Impressionism as a descent of art into the gutter, karl Scheffler wrote a devastating criticism in 1907, comparing the Siegesallee to an overly patriotic out of tune amateur brassband concerto. The Siegesallee was still a place to stroll or relax. The figures were used to teach the history of Brandenburg to pupils, a series of essays in a prestigious school, the Joachimsthalsche Gymnasium, reached the Kaiser
The Siegesallee, from a 1902 postcard. In the foreground is the statue of Albert I of Brandenburg ("Albert the Bear") (1100-1170). This was the northernmost statue on the west side. Other statues can be seen stretching away into the distance.
Map of Siegesallee from 1902
Kaum genügend (just satisfactory, Schroeder) und auffallend vernünftig für solch ein Thema (strikingly rationable for such a topic Wilhelm II.)