More Style than Substance at Nuremberg Rally

Friday 11th September 1936

Hitler’s speech at the Nazi party rally in Nuremberg was comparatively mundane. It focused on the “progress” that he had achieved. The menace of Jewish-Bolshevism was only once alluded to by name, although it was clearly the target of the Führer’s wrath. The event was more spectacular for the huge turnout of 180,000 party members – by then membership of the NSDAP was a sine qua non of advancement in almost any sphere of life – and the dramatic light show staged after nightfall, using 250 search-light beams to create a "cathedral of light".

Josef Goebbels, the propaganda minister, was rather more forthright in his exposition of the diplomatic situation. Germany was leading the fight against Bolshevism, which had to be exterminated. In the words of one listener familiar with the long-forgotten diplomatic norms of pre-1914, his words would have meant war within 24 hours in those days.


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