Ruins, rubble, destroyed cities: reconstruction was a major challenge to architects in both East and West Germany. While architecture in the West took on the ideas of international Modernism and its lines of development, it was oriented primarily towards the Soviet Union in the East: the model of the “socialist city” still characterises Berlin, Dresden, Eisenhüttenstadt, Leipzig and many other eastern German cities today. Besides the adoption of Stalinist monumentality and the search for “national traditions”, however, the buildings of those times could be surprisingly modern. By describing the decision-making processes, careers and some leading projects of key GDR architects, the authors direct attention to the change in architecture’s political significance. This lavishly illustrated, seminal work thus contributes to a new understanding of cultural history in the divided Germany and closes a gap in recent accounts of architectural history.