Hitler described Nuremberg as the ‘Heart of the Third Reich’. So it makes sense that he would build the Nazi’s main rally ground around 11kms just outside the city. Nuremberg is in Germany’s south- west, where Nazism grew from its modest beginnings to the party that took over the government.
The rally grounds are situated on six square miles. They include 24 towers and the balcony, known as the Zeppelin Tribune, where Hitler would stand to make speeches and address his party. In the arena, around 150,000 people could gather to salute their leader. The ground’s design was based on, but bigger than, the Colosseum in Rome.
Between 1933 and 1938 six Nazi rallies were held at the grounds. The sheer size and scale of the rallies was immense. The events were carefully planned and arranged so that they would portray an inspiring performance.
In 1934, the Congress of Unity and Strength (Reichsparteitag der Einheit und Stärke) was filmed by documentary maker Leni Riefenstahl. Hitler had commissioned the film and acted as a co-producer. The theme is about Germany returning to its status as a great power in the world. The film remains controversial to this day and is restricted in Germany, the Mail Online reports.
The rallies enabled Hitler to reach large hordes of followers. His speeches were geared towards building up to World War Two and fostering anti-Semitism amongst his supporters. Local residents recall their grandparents’ stories about when Hitler was in town and the rallies were taking place. One calls the atmosphere inside the arena ‘intoxicating’ when Hitler was speaking to the crowd.
There are currently calls for the renovation and maintenance of the rally grounds which have fallen into disrepair. Locals are pleased that when maintained the grounds will be useful as a way of facing up to what happened during the Nazi regime, but many are against the high cost of the renovation.
Nuremberg is also synonymous with the Nuremberg trials, which took place at the end of World War Two and were the proceedings that brought the leading members of the Nazi party to justice. A museum is housed in the Congress Hall and many visitors go to learn about the history of Nuremberg. Many locals believe people will learn more about the Nazi regime and what happened at Nuremberg by visiting the facilities rather than by reading about it in books. Many locals believe they owe it to following generations to recall what happened there and ensure that it never happens again.