vintage, nostalgia and memories


January 31, 2013

1938 Reich Party Congress - The Third Reich’s Myth-Making Machinery, in Color

Here, on the 80th anniversary of the day Hitler was appointed Germany’s Chancellor (Jan. 30, 1933), LIFE.com takes a long, hard look at the aesthetics of the Reich’s propaganda machinery, from the single swastika to the epic torchlit celebrations during Hitler’s 50th birthday. Here are the almost inconceivably vast Nuremberg rallies, where individuals are subsumed into one Fuhrer-worshiping organism. Here are the gargantuan Nazi banners, towering above a sea of faces that fade into insignificance. Here are thousands of tanned, near-naked youth, re-enacting a manufactured, cobbled-together and thoroughly mythical past when “Aryans” gamboled beneath a Teutonic sun.

The photographs in this gallery were made by one of Hitler's personal photographers, Hugo Jaeger.

Adolf Hitler salutes troops of the Condor Legion who fought alongside Spanish Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War, during a rally upon their return to Germany, 1939

Nazi rally, 1937

Nazi and Italian flags draped from balconies to welcome Adolf Hitler during state visit to Italy, 1938

Nuremberg, Germany, 1938

Volkswagen Works cornerstone ceremony, near Wolfsburg, 1938

Crowds cheering Adolf Hitler's campaign to unite Austria and Germany, 1938

Scene along roadway to the Fallersleben Volkswagen Works cornerstone ceremony, Germany, 1938

Adolf Hitler at the swearing-in of SS standard bearers at the Reich Party Congress, Nuremberg

Nazi officials on their way to Fallersleben Volkswagen Works cornerstone ceremony, 1938

Reich Party Congress, Nuremburg, Germany, 1938

1937 Reich Party Congress, Nuremberg, Germany

Reich Veterans Day, 1939

Berlin illuminated at midnight in honor of Hitler's 50th birthday, April 1939

League of German Girls dancing during the 1938 Reich Party Congress, Nuremberg, Germany

Annual midnight swearing-in of SS troops at Feldherrnhalle, Munich, 1938

Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels (in box) at Charlottenburg Theatre, Berlin, 1939

Adolf Hitler makes keynote address at Reichstag session, Kroll Opera House, Berlin, 1939

Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels speaking at the Lustgarten in Berlin, 1938

Adolf Hitler speaking at the Lustgarten, Berlin, 1938

Reich Party Congress, Nuremberg, Germany, 1938

Volkswagen Works cornerstone ceremony, near Wolfsburg, 1938

(Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)


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