LETTER : Built on shaky foundations

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The Independent Online
WHEN I carried out an extensive series of interviews in 1979 with Hitler's architect, Albert Speer for BBC radio, I, too, found a morally confused individual ("Speer's battle with truth", Review, 10 September). Speer could never escape the gravitational pull of his master and oscillated between guilt and pride. But was Speer morally worse than other architects?

Le Corbusier set an appalling example by working for Stalin's murderous regime. Speer at least had an excuse. He was drawn into Hitler's orbit before the German leader came to power and the full horrors of Nazism were revealed. By the time he began to have doubts it was too late to escape. Le Corbusier, on the other hand, worked for the Soviets after they had spent years committing atrocious crimes. When he began designing buildings in the Soviet Union in 1926 millions of people had already been killed in a deliberately inspired civil war and mass extermination campaigns. Over 300 concentration camps set up by Lenin were in operation and they multiplied under his successor.

Nothing daunted Le Corbusier. When Stalin later deported and slaughtered millions of peasants in the terror-famine during the collectivisation campaign, Le Corbusier was eagerly designing his Palace of Soviets in Moscow.

Speer at least expressed qualms about what he had done. Le Corbusier never did. Indeed, his architectural ideas were to wreak more havoc than Speer's bombs. He corrupted generations of architects and caused misery to millions. Not only Hitler wanted to blow up Paris. Le Corbusier suggested destroying the centre and replacing it with tower blocks.

Speer may be in hell, but surely others should be down there with him, including Le Corbusier who is still lauded as a genius.

Roger George Clark

London SW14

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