Nuremberg rallies

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The Totenehrung (honoring of the dead) at the 1937 Nuremberg Rally. SA leader Viktor Lutze, Adolf Hitler and SS leader Heinrich Himmler on the stone terrace in front of the Ehrenhalle (Hall of Honor) in the Luitpoldarena.

The Nuremberg rallies (officially Reichsparteitag, meaning Reich Party Congress) refer to a series of celebratory events coordinated by the National Socialist German Workers' Party in Germany.


The Cathedral of Light (Lichtdom) above the Zeppelintribune (1937).
A poster for the Reichsparteitag 1938 with an alternative form of the Parteiadler looking over its left wing.

The first rallies took place in 1923 in Munich and in 1926 in Weimar. From 1927 on, they took place exclusively in Nuremberg. The Party selected Nuremberg for pragmatic reasons: it was in the center of the German Reich and the local Luitpoldhain (converted parkland) was well suited as a venue. Official films for the rallies began in 1927, with the establishment of the NSDAP film office. The most famous films were made by Leni Riefenstahl for the rallies between 1933 and 1935.


The 1939 scheduled rally never came to pass and the National Socialist regime never held another one as both the government and NSDAP prioritized Germany's effort in the Second World War.


Each rally was given a programmatic title, which related to recent national events:

  • 1923: The First Party Congress took place in Munich on January 27, 1923.
  • 1923: The "German day" rally (German: Deutscher Tag) was held in Nuremberg, September 1–2, 1923.
  • 1926: The 2nd Party Congress ("Refounding Congress") was held in Weimar, July 3–4, 1926.
  • 1927: The 3rd Party Congress ("Day of Awakening") was held in Nuremberg, August 19–21, 1927. The film Eine Symphonie des Kampfwillens was made at this rally.
  • 1929: The 4th Party Congress, known as the "Day of Composure", was held in Nuremberg, August 1–4, 1929. The film Der Nürnberger Parteitag der NSDAP was made at this rally.
  • 1933: The 5th Party Congress was held in Nuremberg, August 30 – September 3, 1933. It was called the "Rally of Victory" (Reichsparteitag des Sieges). The term "victory" relates to the victory over the Weimar Republic. The Leni Riefenstahl film Der Sieg des Glaubens was made at this rally. Hitler announced that from then on all Rallies would take place in Nuremberg.[1]
  • 1934: The 6th Party Congress was held in Nuremberg, September 5–10, 1934, which was attended by about 700,000 NSDAP supporters. Initially it did not have a theme. Later it was labeled the "Rally of Unity and Strength" (Reichsparteitag der Einheit und Stärke). The Leni Riefenstahl film Triumph des Willens was made at this rally.[2] This rally was particularly notable due to Albert Speer's Cathedral of light: 152 searchlights that cast vertical beams into the sky around the Zeppelin Field.
  • 1935: The 7th Party Congress was held in Nuremberg, September 10–16, 1935. It was called the "Rally of Freedom" (Reichsparteitag der Freiheit). "Freedom" referred to the reintroduction of compulsory military service and thus the German liberation from the Treaty of Versailles. Leni Riefenstahl made the film Tag der Freiheit: Unsere Wehrmacht (Day of Freedom: Our Armed Forces) at this rally, and the National Socialists introduced the Nuremberg Laws.
  • 1936: The 8th Party Congress was known as the "Rally of Honour" (Reichsparteitag der Ehre, September 8–14). The film Festliches Nürnberg incorporated footage shot at this rally, as well as the rally of 1937.
  • 1937: The 9th Party Congress was called the "Rally of Labour" (Reichsparteitag der Arbeit, September 6–13). It celebrated the reduction of unemployment in Germany since the National Socialist rise to power.
  • 1938: The 10th Party Congress was named the "Rally of Greater Germany" (Reichsparteitag Großdeutschland, September 5–12). This was due to the Union of Austria to Germany that had taken place earlier in the year.
  • 1939: The 11th Party Congress, scheduled for September 2–11, was to be given the name "Rally of Peace" (Reichsparteitag des Friedens). It was meant to reiterate the German desire for peace, both to the German population and to other countries. It was cancelled at short notice, as, one day before the planned date, on September 1, Germany began its offensive against Poland in Europe.

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