Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Runs Bauhaus at Dessau

In 1930 Mies was appointed to run the Dessau Bauhaus on Gropius's recommendation following the dismissal of Hannes Meyer, and emphasized instruction within a more clearly-defined pedagogic structure, but the mayhem of mismanagement over the previous years had done the damage, and in 1932 the National Socialist majority in the Dessau Town Council closed the institution. Mies attempted to reconstitute the Bauhaus in a disused factory at Berlin-Steglitz, but it shut in 1933. It has been widely claimed that Mies left Germany because of Nazi hostility to his work, but Mies remained in Germany for five more years, and was one of the signatories of the Proclamation by leading German artists urging voters to support Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) following the death of President (from 1925) Paul von Hindenburg (1847–1934). Mies and Gropius both joined the Visual Arts section of the Nazi-sponsored Reich Culture Chamber, and submitted designs (predictably decorated with Swastikas) for architecture competitions; some Modernist designs for Autobahn service stations by Mies were personally approved by Hitler. Indeed Mies attempted to show that Modernism was apolitical, but this was a complete reversal of his position a decade earlier, and his apostasy did not go unnoticed. However, it is becoming clear that Hitler (who was uninterested in tedious doctrinal disputes among architects) saw Modernism as suitable for factories, bridges, airports, Autobahn structures, and so on, while a stripped Neo-Classicism was to be used for State and Party purposes, (because of its austerity, power, and simplicity), and a vernacular style for housing (especially in the country), a position not much differing from the official line in many other countries (including the democracies) of the period. Furthermore, Mies's gnomic remark that architecture is ‘the will of the epoch translated into space’ was used, almost verbatim, by Hitler, many of whose ex cathedra sayings were very close to those spouted by the Bauhäusler. It soon became apparent, however, that there was not going to be much architectural work in an economy geared increasingly to war, and Mies decided to leave Germany to pursue his career.

From 1930 to 1933 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe carried on with much of what had been started under his predecessors. The retention of teachers like Ludwig Hilberseimer helped to ensure a certain continuity after the change of director. At the same time Mies van der Rohe streamlined the curriculum to produce something like a system of courses which left almost no room for utopian experiments. The majority of the new student intake at the Bauhaus had already completed a course of studies, and the Bauhaus became a "postgraduate school" (Wolsdorff, Bauhaus archive berlin). Mies van der Rohe’s teaching focused on the design of specific buildings whose appearance owed nothing to Gropius’s "study of essentials” or to the collective satisfaction of “the people’s needs”, but which were to be "the spatial implementation of intellectual decisions” (Mies van der Rohe) in an aesthetically consummate fashion.