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A WFF STUDY IN DOCUMENTARY HISTORY
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Held annually in September from the early 1920s until 1938, the Nazi Party's Nuremberg Party Day rallies were intended to show the world a German State in lockstep with its leader and his ideology. The Nuremberg Party Day rallies thus represented an example of the "mobilization" of German society by National Socialism. As such, the rallies provide scholars with an excellent vantage point for studying the Third Reich as a totalitarian political system.
The Nuremberg Party Day rallies were multi-day events that offer the clearest single example of the organization of the Nazi regime. Each day of that year's rally showcased a different part of the Party and State, be it the Army, German Labor Front, or League of German Girls. Adolf Hitler spoke many times during the Nuremberg rallies and on each occasion he addressed a different audience. Therefore, in addition to hammering on general themes, Hitler's comments pertained specifically to the activities and interests of his audience.(Click here to see Nuremberg Party Day rally schedules for 1934 through 1938) In short, examining Hitler's speeches during the Nuremberg rallies offers an opportunity to investigate over one brief period of time the various aspects of Hitler's ideology, as it operated within the organizational hierarchy of the Nazi State.
Because of the importance of the Nuremberg Party Day rallies to the Nazi movement, the historical documentation surrounding Hitler's Nuremberg speeches is far more complete than that of his other speeches. Because of the problems that exist in the availability of Hitler's speeches for scholarly study, we have produced a study, Hitler: Problems in Documentary Record as well in order to deal with this issue.
This report is not a comprehensive overview of the available sources. Furthermore, it does not cover the Nuremberg rallies of the Nazi Party that were held before Hitler came to power in 1933. Rather, this report is an attempt to clarify for researchers the confusion that often surrounds finding documentary collections of Hitler's public addresses, as well as of Nuremberg rally documentation in general. In pointing out the problems and confusion that exists, we want to stimulate research on the subject of Hitler's public statements and the Nuremberg Party Day rallies. We hope that exposing the problems may lead to the publication of new and complete documentary sources.
Where possible we have included library call numbers and other reference information to facilitate finding these sources.
I. EXCERPTS AND SUMMARIES
THE NUREMBERG PARTY DAY RALLY "YEARBOOKS"(in German) "BLUE BOOKS"
The Nazi press published annual yearbooks for the Nuremberg Party Day rallies. These official yearbooks are often referred to by book dealers as "Blue Books" because of their blue cloth covers (although some limited editions were published with dark red covers). Because the yearbooks were intended for a popular audience they are heavy on photographs. These books only provide excerpts from or summaries of Hitler's speeches. Furthermore, neither indexes, nor tables of contents are included in these books, making it time consuming to locate Hitler's speeches.
One benefit to the yearbooks, however, is that they often contain copies of the speeches delivered by Nazi leaders other than Hitler, including Joseph Goebbels, Alfred Rosenberg, and Robert Ley. The addition of these speeches makes them a valuable source.
THE DOMARUS VOLUMES(in German)
The best known collection of Hitler's speeches is the compilation created by Max Domarus. This compilation also includes the Nuremberg speeches. Researchers using these volumes should be warned that Domarus' volumes are collected excerpts of Hitler's speeches. Still more problematic is the fact that in some cases a speech Hitler delivered at Nuremberg has been left out altogether. Also, it is often hard to see where speeches begin and end, and Domarus insists on inserting his comments in the middle of speeches. See our Hitler: Problems in Documentary Record for other problems that exist in the Domarus volumes.
THE DOMARUS VOLUMES (IN ENGLISH)
Documentary sources in English translation on the Nuremberg Party Day rallies, including the speeches of Hitler and other prominent Nazi leaders, are almost non-existent. Although the Domarus volumes have been translated, the problems that plague the German editions are also present in the English translations. An additional problem in the English volumes is that the translations of Hitler's statements are sometimes very poor. This further detracts from the usefulness of the Domarus volumes. However, for those limited to researching the Nuremberg Party Day rallies in English, Domarus' are the only relatively complete source that is available.
Those interested in reading a general study of the Nuremberg Party Day rallies in English may consult the title listed below. Some excerpts from the speeches of Hitler and other Nazi leaders are available in this work.
II. MORE COMPLETE DOCUMENTATION FOR THE NUREMBERG PARTY DAY RALLIES
THE "GUIDE BOOKS"(in German) "RED BOOKS"
A very useful source for the complete texts of Hitler's speeches at some of the Nuremberg Party Day rallies can be found in guides to the rallies that the Nazis published following each Parteitag. Some book dealers refer to these smaller volumes as "Red books" because of their red cloth covers. These guides were intended to provide readers with a detailed description of the rally that had just taken place. Accordingly they include more text and fewer photographs than the yearbooks. Within these guides one can find copies of the complete speeches that Hitler delivered at that year's rally.
To the best of our knowledge, these guide books also contain reprints in chronological order of the complete speeches delivered by other Nazi leaders at that rally. Events leading up to each speech, including processions and ceremonies, are also described. The guides thus serve as detailed reference works on the Nuremberg rallies by including information on speaking engagements and the audiences to which comments were directed.
Unfortunately, these guide books are very difficult to find.
THE SPEECH BOOKS(in German)
Of all the available sources, the most cost effective are volumes that were produced by the Central Printing Office of the Nazi Party of the complete speeches Hitler delivered at that year's Nuremberg rally. EntitledReden des Führers (Speeches of the Führer), some of these volumes also included speeches Hitler gave at other Party events, such as the annual rally at Bückeberg. Various later editions of Hitler's collected speeches, including his Nuremberg speeches, were also printed. Several of these are listed below.
In some cases, volumes of Hitler's speeches were printed specifically for distribution among a target audience, such as a "Special Edition for the Armed Forces" or a "Special Edition for the Luftwaffe."
These speech books, when used in conjunction with the yearbooks and the guides, provide complete documentation of Hitler's speeches and the best overview of the contexts within which Hitler spoke during the Nuremberg rallies.
Adolf Hitler, Rede Adolf Hitlers zum 21. Jahrestage der Gründung der NSDAP in München am 24. Februar 1941 (Berlin: W. Greve, 1941).
THE VÖLKISCHER BEOBACHTER: AN ADDITIONAL SOURCE FOR PRINTED REPRODUCTIONS OF HITLER'S SPEECHES (in German)
The Völkischer Beobachter was the official newspaper of the Nazi Party. Hitler's speeches at Nuremberg, as well as those of other Nazi leaders, were reprinted in full in the VB. In our research for this report we discovered that the VB was published in regional editions as well as in a national edition. It is currently unclear to us if the content of these editions varied significantly. Researchers are advised to use the national edition of the VB. The VB may be found at the Library of Congress, Microform Reading Room, Jefferson, LJ139B or at the library of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (see the reference desk on the fifth floor). University and community libraries may also have collections of the VB for use by their patrons. A word of warning, however, typically the VB is available only on microfilm. This makes it a difficult source to use. In addition, the articles are printed in Fraktur, which is a complicated German script to read.
Organizations wishing to order microfilm of the VB or publications like the SS Schwartze Korps can do so via Mikropress.
III. VISUAL SOURCES
Other kinds of sources offer a deeper look into the Nuremberg Party Day rallies, including photographic and film sources. These sources shed light on the ways the regime used the rallies for propaganda purposes.
HEINRICH HOFFMANN'S PHOTOGRAPHIC COLLECTIONS
As Adolf Hitler's personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann had unlimited access to the events of every Nuremberg Party Day rally. He used this access to create photo albums of each rally throughout the 1930s. Here is a complete list of Hoffmann's Nuremberg Party Day rally photo albums.
LENI RIEFENSTAHL'S "TRIUMPH OF THE WILL"
For the 1934 Nuremberg Party Day rally, Hitler authorized the noted German film star and director, Leni Riefenstahl to document the rally in a full length film. The result was Riefenstahl's film "Triumph des Willens" (Triumph of the Will), one of the most fascinating, highly-regarded, and yet extremely controversial films ever created.