Question: Nuremberg Rallies and Propaganda in Nazi Germany Answer: In

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Simon Crowley
Dictatorship and Democracy

Question: Nuremberg Rallies and Propaganda in Nazi Germany

In 1933, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party came to power. The use of party propaganda and party rallies from 1927 to 1933 were key to the rise of the Nazi party and the cementation of Hitler’s totalitarian state. From 1933, Hitler and his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, began the Nazification of Germany and the implementation of state propaganda. Hitler indoctrinated Nazi state policy into the youth of the new Nazi state as well as Education and the Army. 1933 to 1939 the Nazi party rallies became state party rallies. These annual rallies took place in Nuremberg and each rally had a specific theme. The success of Nazi propaganda and the state rallies was catastrophic. (Change this adjective to ‘overwhelming’!!)This success can be pinpointed to Joseph Goebbels, Albert Speer and propaganda director Leni Riefenstahl. The newly indoctrinated Hitler Youth and League of German Maidens marched alongside the SS and SA militia groups at these humongous state rallies. (9/12)

The first Nazi rally was held in Nuremberg in 1927. This was repeated during the period of the 1st – 4th of August 1929. Special trains brought 24,000 SS and SA men and 1,300 members of the Hitler Youth to this rally. The medieval city of Nuremberg was chosen by Hitler. The function of these rallies was to create a centre of National Socialist expression - a staged and almost religious outlet of Nazi ideology, symbolism and propaganda. The party propaganda and rallies were staged from 1927 – 1933. During this period, Hitler and the National Socialists used the rallies to undermine and criticise the Weimar Republic, spread anti-Semitism and denounce the Treaty of Versailles. The Nazi Party owed a lot of its growth to the SA’s intimidation of political opponents, the rallies during this period served as a focal point of propaganda and publicity. Though some strong hints to future policy were included, racial ideology, later emphasised in anti-Semitic and anti-Slavic propaganda, was not prominent throughout these early years of the rallies. The ‘Kampfzeit’ focused on national politics. (9/12)

Nazi propaganda was led by Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels was Hitler’s Minister for Propaganda and Popular Enlightenment. Goebbels graduated with a doctorate in 19th Century literature and joined the NSDAP in 1922. In 1926 he was appointed Gauleiter of Berlin. Goebbels founded the Nazi newspaper ‘Der Angriff’ in 1927 and was elected to the Reichstag in 1928. Goebbels organised the election campaigns, created the Nazi Party myths and when Hitler came to power, took control of the media. Goebbels’ extreme anti-Semitism and anti-Communism could be seen in the Nazi propaganda, especially after 1933. Goebbels was chief architect of the Nuremberg Laws and he organised Kristillnacht in 1938. Goebbels played a huge part in organising the party rallies and this role was carried on when Hitler took power. Goebbels was a genius propagandist; he knew when to tone down the more extreme party views and when to shout them out. Goebbels played a central role in the organisation and planning of the 1936 Olympics in regards to propaganda. He worked closely with propaganda director Leni Riefenstahl and Chief Reich Architect Albert Speer. (11/12)

Upon gaining power and banning all other political parties Hitler needed to consolidate his power. The Nazi party did this through the indoctrination of state propaganda and the Nazification of Germany. The Nazi Party introduced their policy of Volkgemeinschaft, which means “Strength through Joy”, this policy applied mainly to the workers in Nazi Germany. The German Labour Front had strict policies, no strikes were allowed. This policy was successful due to the blinding propaganda that surrounded it. Nazi ideology was now state ideology and the Nazi party indoctrinated this into education and recreational clubs. After-school activities were highly controlled by the Nazi Party. At 10 years old boys joined the German Youth People and at 14 progressed to the Hitler Youth. The Hitler Youth became the largest youth organisation in the world. Members were taught to be loyal to Hitler. They spoon-fed propaganda from an early age, taught to believe in the Aryan race and Nazi Ideology. Similar was done with the young girls of Nazi Germany. At 10 they joined the League of Young Girls and at 14, the League of German Maidens. They were moulded to fit the fascist theory of women as home makers and mothers. Teachers were made join the National Socialist Teacher’s League, so now state propaganda was present in the class room too. (11/12)

Upon taking complete control of Germany, the Nuremberg rallies would now become a ‘state occasion’ as the Nazi Party was the only legal party in Germany from then on. Party Propaganda became state policy as the Nazi Party became the state. The rallies were now used to superimpose and popularise the social, racial and political beliefs of the Nazi Party. Between 1933 and 1939, the Nuremberg State Rallies would grow and become more elaborate, both in substance and theatricality. The annual rallies from then on would have a unique theme. Over 500,000 people and party members attended the Rally of Victory in 1933, the first of the monster rallies. The rally took place in the Zeppelin Field. Propaganda director Leni Riefenstahl made her film ‘Victory of Faith’, this film captures the theme of the rally perfectly. The rally celebrated the Nazi’s rise to power. Hitler and Goebbels made speeches on “The Racial Question” and “World Propaganda”. In his speech, Goebbels went into great detail describing how “International Jewry” had undermined and betrayed Germany’s war effort. He also alluded to the fact that Jews were numerous in professional positions in order to heighten the sense of a Jewish conspiracy. It was very powerful propaganda spoken at a very powerful propaganda event. (10/12)

The 1934 Rally of Unity and Strength is the best remembered of all the rallies. Hitler’s followers were encouraged to think of him as a demi-god, this can be seen at the 1934 rally and much of the pageantry and ritual is quasi-religious. The rally was centred on the development of the ‘Cult of Personality’ of Hitler. The manner in which the rally was organised emphasised Hitler’s position as The Fuhrer, undoubtedly to create an unquestioning loyalty to the leader of the one-party state. One of the most colourful and dramatic of all the Nuremberg Rallies, it personified the new emerging Germany in Hitler’s own personality and will. It was at this rally that propaganda director Leni Riefenstahl would record her famous documentary, ‘Triumph of the Will’. The movie is a superb example of the propaganda movies made around the globe at this time. The documentary starts with Hitler’s arrival by plane through the clouded skies, descending god-like to meet the adoring crowds whilst Wagner’s heroic music played. In the documentary the tent-city of workers and soldiers is a happy, purposeful place. Scenes and music shows blood brotherhood and camaraderie. The film is dominated by scenes showing massed rows of Nazis in half profile mesmerised by their leader and endless swastikas, close-ups of Hitler and torch-lit processions. (12/12)

The 1935 Rally of Freedom celebrated the reintroduction of compulsory military service. Propaganda played a key role in making the military look like an enticing group to be a part of. The rally also celebrated Nazi Germany’s liberation from the hated Treaty of Versailles. To celebrate the reintroduction of conscription, Leni Riefenstahl made her third Nuremberg rally propaganda film: ‘Our Armed Forces’, to further entice the youth of Germany to welcome conscription. The rally was centred on the new laws concerning the Jewish population in Nazi Germany. The Nuremberg Laws were the main theme of the 1935 indoctrination. Hitler declared “the fight against the inner enemies of the nation…would never fail”. The Nuremberg Laws proclaimed the Blood Laws. These forbade blood relations between Jews and Germans, amongst other things. Jews forfeited German citizenship and became ‘state subjects’. Hitler made 17 speeches at the 1935 rally, mainly concerning his growing obsession with the Jewish people and anti-Semitic propaganda. The 1936 rally, the Rally of Honour celebrated the German reoccupation of the Rhineland. This was regarded as restoring German honour. This rally cemented the intimate relationship between Hitler and his followers. It emphasised the miracle of Hitler’s vision and of him coming to power in Germany. Albert Speer’s influence as Reich Architect begins to become more prominent from this rally on. The ‘Four Year Economic Plan’ was also announced at this rally, surrounded by propaganda. (10/12)

The Racial Revolution Rally or Rally of Labour was held in 1937. The aspect of empire was now becoming obvious. A brother of the emperor of Japan attended boosting relations between the two countries. Architecture, art and culture were becoming synonymous with the new “Thousand year Reich”. Speer and Hitler would together plan the new architecture of Germany’s empire. This rally was noted for Albert Speer’s Cathedral of Light’ display with 152 searchlights. The 1938 Rally of Greater Germany was to celebrate the Anchluss with Austria and Kristillnacht. Kristillnacht, Goebbels organised massed raids of Jewish homes and temples. 1938 included a new aspect of holding rallies at night, to increase the theatrical effect. This also occurred at the 1937 rally. 32,000 flags and banners were paraded in front of Hitler who acted like a high priest in consecrating the colours of the Party and State. The 1939 Rally of Peace was cancelled, ironically, due to the outbreak of World War Two. (9/12)

CM = 9+9+11+11+10+12+10+9 = 60/60
OE = 34/40

Overall = 94/100

Outstanding essay and wonderful commentary to back up the evidence and data provided. Only one concern might be the little attention given to the newspaper, cinema and radio propaganda. However, you did mention these specifically early on in the essay. The rest is flawless and comprehensive both in detail, evidence and commentary. Well done.

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