Annual Reichsparteitag Rallies: Individual Rallies


Figure 1.--Here we see DJ and HJ boys on Yiuth Day at the annual Reich Parteitag. We are not sure which one it was, but we suspect it was the 1934 rally. The cap the leader in front is wearing suggests that it was an early one.

The early rallies were modest affairs. The NAZIs held four rallies before seizing power. The first rally was held in Munich (1923). This was the year that Hitler staged the Beer Hall putch. The second rally was not held until the Party had a few years to recover and Hitler was released from jail. The next rally was held in Weimar (1926). The rallies wre then moved to Nuremberg. The next two rallies was held in Nuremberg (1927 and 29). The first Rallies were relatively modest affairs, but became much more important as the NAZIs became a major political party (1930) After the NAZIs came to power Nuremberg was made the permanent location for the rallies and they became annual events (1933). The rallies now with state funds at NAZI disposal were expanded into NAZI propaganda extravaganzas. With the resources of the Führer state, Reichsparteitag became an annual national celebration. The Reichsparteitag were staged annually at the NAZI party rally grounds in Nuremberg (1933-38). The Hitler Youth and other NAZI units played a major role in the pagentry. Each annual rally was given a slogan designed to express Hitler's primary achievement or goal for the year. The 1933 rally was "The Rally of Victory" because this was the year Hitler was appointed Chancellor. The best known Reichsparteitag is probably the 6th Reichsparteitag (1935). Leni Riefenstahl used the event to film 'Triumph des Willens' widely regarded as the most powerful propagnda film ever made. It was also the platform for issuing the Nuremberg Race Laws. The Rallies were held through 1938 when Hitler used the Rally as the final statement of his commitment to seize the Sudentenland, leadsing to the Munich Crisis. The 1938 rally was "The Rally of Greater Germany" because the Anchluss with Austria was achieved and Hitler was then demanding the Seudtenland from Czechoslovakia. The 1938 Rally would prove to be the last one. The 1939 rally was to be ironically the "The Rally of Peace", but had to be cancelled at short notice when Hitler ordered the invasion of Poland (Septemver 1, 1939), launching World War II.

First Rally: 1923

The first rally was held in Munich (1923). This was the year that Hitler staged the Beer Hall putch.

Second Rally: 1926

The second rally was not held until the Party had a few years to recover and Hitler was released from jail. The next rally was held in Weimar (1926).

Third Rally: 1927--

The rallies wre then moved to Nuremberg. The next two rallies was held in Nuremberg (1927 and 29). The first Rallies were relatively modest affairs, but became much more important as the NAZIs became a major political party (1930)

Fourth Rally: 1929--Day of Composure

The 4th Party Rally was the Day of Composure. It was held August 2, 1929. The propaganda film 'Der Nürnberger Parteitag der NSDAP' was shot at this rally. This was just before the Wall Street Crash and the onset of the Depression which would significantly increase support for Hitler and the NAZIs.

Fifth Rally: 1933--The Rally of Victory

After the NAZIs came to power Nuremberg was made the permanent location for the rallies and they became annual events (1933). The rallies now with state funds at NAZI disposal were expanded into NAZI propaganda extravaganzas with a week of activities. With the resources of the Führer state, Reichsparteitag became an annual national celebration. The Reichsparteitag were staged annually at NAZI party rally grounds in Nuremberg. The Luitpold Arena was first used. It could hold over 150,000 celebrating NAZIs. It was the scene of various SS and SA gatherings in addition to Reichpareitag. At one end of the arena was the Ehrenhalle, a war memorial built before the NAZI take over in 1929. The Hitler Youth and other NAZI units played a major role in the pagentry. Each annual rally was given a slogan designed to express Hitler's primary achievement or goal for the year. The 1933 rally was "The Rally of Victory" because this was the year Hitler was appointed Chancellor.

Sixth Rally: 1934

The Zeppelinfeld was first used for Parteitag before the Zeppelintribüne was finished (1934). The first Hoheitszeichen national insignia on the Zeppelintribüne was a large wooden eagle designed by Albert Speer specially for the 1934 Parteitag. The 6th Rally did not at first have a theme. Subsequently various terms were used: Reichsparteitag der Einheit und Stärke (Rally of Unity and Strength), Reichsparteitag der Macht (Rally of Power) or Reichsparteitag des Willens (Rally of Will). The Leni Riefenstahl shot her powerful propaganda film, 'Triumph des Willens' at this rally. We think the image here was taken at the 1934 rally (figire 1).

Seventh Rally: 1935--The Rally of Freedom

The best known Reichsparteitag is probably the 7th Reichsparteitag (1935). Leni Riefenstahl used the event to film 'Triumph des Willens' widely regarded as the most powerful propagnda film ever made. It was also the platform for issuing the Nuremberg Race Laws. Hitler commonly used the annual Nuremberg NAZI Party Rallies (Reichsparteitag) to make important announcements. The Party Rallies are sometimes call conventions or congresses, but this seems a misnomer as the assembled party members did not debate policy, but were there to hear what the leadership told them about Party policy which in 1933 becanme government policy. The 1935 Party Congress was particularly important. Hitler had already taken major steps earlier in the year. after making Germany's secret armament program public and reinstituting conscription (a major violation of the Versailles Treaty). The 1935 Party Rally was called the Rally for Freedom (Reichsparteitag der Freiheit). Here 'Freedom' refered to the reintroduced of conscription (compulsory military service) and German 'liberation' from the restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler also used the Rally to put the new Wehrmacht on display to the public. He also announced three new laws (September 15). Leni Riefenstahl used the occassion to shoot one of her films at the rally, "Tag der Freiheit: Unsere Wehrmacht". Hitler then announced three new laws which he decreed. The first was the Flag Law which replaced the Weimar red, black, and yellow banner with the red flag containing a white circle and black swastica device. Hitler also announced two other new laws that were to be the cornerstones of German racist policies that came to define the Third Reich and layed the legal foundation for the supression of Jews and other non-Aryans . These decrees became known as the Nuremberg Race Laws. Such decrees in NAZI Germany had the force of law. In this case they were passed by the NAZI rubber stamp Reichstag.

Eighth Rally: 1936--The Rally of Honor

The 8th Party Rally was the Reichsparteitag der Ehre (Rally of Honor). The remilitarization of the Rhineland (March 1936). This was depicted by the NAZIs as the restoration of German honor and many Germans agreed. he film 'Festliches Nürnberg' used footage shot at this rally and thec1937 rally.

Ninth Rally: 1937--The Rally of Labor

The 9th Party Rally was another NAZI extravaganza. It was the Reichsparteitag der Arbeit (Rally of Labor). It trumpeted the decline in unemployment since the NAZIs seized power. The NAZIs unveiled an enormous construction project designed by Speer for future Nuremberg rallies. The center piece was the German Stadium. The most visually notable spectcular was Albert Speer's Cathedral of light. This involved 152 searchlights that shot vertical beams into the sky around the Zeppelin Field, symbolizing the walls of a massive cathedral. The events were spread over a week. September 6: The Day of the Grand Opening. September 7: The Day of the opening of the NSDAP congress with Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess and Julius Streicher. September 8: The Day of the Reichsarbeitsdienst (Reich Labor Service--RAD). September 9: Grand Opening of the NS-Fight Games including sacrifying on the new stadium, and other sports events. September 10: The Day of the political Leaders including a speech by SS Reich Führer Heinrich Himmler and the sactifying of police banners. September 11: Day of the Hitler-Jugend (Hitler Youth-HJ). A day was always devoted to the HJ. This was something Hitler insisted on, attaching great iportance to youth work. HJ leader Baldur von Schirach spoke. The American Life photographic magazine took color photographs of the 1937 Rally. The older BDM girls from the Glaube und Schönheit (Faith and Beauty) movement staged an elaborate display. The annual congress of the Deutsche Arbeitsfront (German Workers Front--DAF) was convened with their Leader Dr. Robert Ley and Dr. Hans Frank (the future head of the Generalgouvernement (occupied Poland). September 12: The Day of the SA, the SS and the NSKK. Adolf Hitler and the 'reformed' SA Leader Viktor Lutze presided. September 13: Day of the Wehrmacht (German Armed Forces). This was the occassion for massive parades of the Heer (Army), Luftwaffe (Air Force) and Kriegsmarine (Navy) with displays of new weaponry. Abd by 1937 after several years of massive rearmament, there was a great deal to display. Prince Chichibu, a brother of Japanese Emperor Horohito attended the rally, showing warming relatiins between Germany and Japan. Hiler received him personally. The film 'Festliches Nürnberg' used footage shot at the 1936 abnd 37 rallies. Julius Streicher had a book published, Reichstagung 1937 recording the various events with elaborate photographs.

Tenth Rally: 1938--The Rally of Greater Germany

The NAZIs held their annual party congress or rallies in Nuremberg during late-August or September. The 1938 rally was the 10th (tenth) Party Congress. It was the largest of all the NAZI rallies. Some 0.7 million 700,000 members of the different NAZI organizations which participated. The festivities which lasted for a week. The 10th Party Congress was named the Reichsparteitag Großdeutschland (Rally of Greater Germany) (September 5–12). This name was due to the Anchluss (annexation) of Austria that had occurred earlier. On youth day, Hitler addressed the assembled enthusiastic Hiler Youuth menmbers, telling them, "You, my youth, are our nation's most precious guarantee for a great future, and you are destined to be the leaders of a glorious new order under the supremacy of National Socialism. Never forget that one day you will rule the world." And by the time of the rally, Propaganda Minister Goebbels had raised the campaign agauinst Czechoslovakia to a fever pitch. Hitler always made his main speech on the last day of the rally when he used the occasion to announce and highlight his priorities. Europe awaited with dread Hitler's address, fearing it might be a declaration of war. Hitler used the Rally as the final statement of his commitment to seize the Sudentenland, leadsing to the Munich Crisis. Hitler delivered an impassioed address accussing the Czechs of terrible crimes against the Sudeten Germans (September 12). He did not announce any eminent invasion. He made it clear, however, what Gobells propaganda machine had been drumming up for several months -- he was prepared to move against Czechoslovakia. Hitler was demanding that Czechislovakia turn over the German populated Sudetenland to the Reich. Unlike Austria, the Czechs were prepared to fight. And France had treaty commitments to Czechoslovakia. This would mean war and Europe braced for it. The 1938 Rally would prove to be the last one. The 1939 raly was cabcelled hen Hitler an Stalin launched World War II (September 1939).

Eleventh Rally: 1939--The Rally of Peace

The 1939 rally was to be ironically the "The Rally of Peace", but it was never held. NAZI authorities had to cancel it on short notice when Hitler ordered the invasion of Poland (Septemver 1, 1939), launching World War II. Stalin who had joined Hitler in the NAZI-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact followed suite 2 weeks later.







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Created: 10:21 PM 10/24/2011
Last updated: 4:03 PM 8/13/2018