At the 1937 Paris International Exhibition the pavilions of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union stood face to face on the banks of the Seine, graphically representing inter-war Europe’s ideological fractures. Boris Iofan’s multiplanar Soviet pavilion was crowned with Vera Mukhina’s massive sculpture ‘Industrial Worker and Collective Farm Woman’ depicting two archetypal Soviet citizens, jointly holding hammer and sickle aloft and striding forward ‘symbolic of the irreversible momentum propelling the socialist worker and peasant into the future’.2 Across the Place de Varsovie, Albert Speer’s austere neoclassical German pavilion – ‘a study in rigid calm’ – was fronted by a 60 metre tall rectilinear tower looming over Mukhina’s figures, itself topped by a huge bronze eagle grasping a swastika in its talons. Where the Soviet pavilion gave an impression of forward and even offensive momentum, Speer’s tower and the statues that guarded its entrance gave the German pavilion the defensive mien of ‘a solid fortress’. This was not accidental. Speer had illicit sight of the blueprints for the Soviet building while on a preliminary visit to Paris to survey the exhibition grounds and subsequently amended his own design to ensure that the German edifice was the taller and appeared to be curbing the Soviet onslaught.3 Observers’ judgements were inevitably conditioned by their ideological predispositions, but conservative opinion was not slow to grasp how Speer’s structure projected ‘all impending aggression … onto the Soviets’.4