|Triumph of the Will
Weimar…post WW I…demoralizing defeat of Germany and harsh conditions of Versailles treaty
On the morning of January 30, 1933, in Hindenburg's office, Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor during what some observers later described as a brief and simple ceremony.
Soon after, president Paul von Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934. Rather than holding new presidential elections, Hitler's cabinet passed a law proclaiming the presidency dormant and transferred the role and powers of the head of state to Hitler as Führer und Reichskanzler (leader and chancellor).
Thereby Hitler also became supreme commander of the military, which swore their military oath not to the state or the constitution but to Hitler personally. In a mid-August plebiscite these acts found the approval of 90% of the electorate. Combining the highest offices in state, military and party in his hand, Hitler had attained supreme rule that could no longer be legally challenged.
Having secured supreme political power, Hitler went on to gain their support by persuading most Germans he was their saviour from the Depression, the Communists, the Versailles Treaty, and the Jews along with other "undesirable" minorities.
Hitler oversaw one of the greatest expansions of industrial production and civil improvement Germany had ever seen, mostly based on debt flotation and expansion of the military.
England and France enter war after invasion of Poland 1939
US after Pearl Harbor 1942
1934 This rally initially did not have a theme. Later it was labeled "Rally of Unity and Strength" (Reichsparteitag der Einheit und Stärke), "Rally of Power" (Reichsparteitag der Macht) or, relating to the movie by Leni Riefenstahl, "Rally of Will" (Reichsparteitag des Willens).
Hitler chose Riefenstahl actress
Riefenstahl, a popular German actress, had directed her first movie called Das Blaue Licht (The Blue Light) in 1932.
Hitler's personal architect designed the set in Nürnberg and did most of the coordination for the event. Riefenstahl also used a film crew that was extravagant by the standards of the day. Her crew consisted of 172 people, including ten technical staff, thirty-six cameramen and assistants (operating in 16 teams with 30 cameras), nine aerial photographers, 17 newsreel men, 12 newsreel crew, 17 lighting men, two photographers, 26 drivers, 37 security personnel, four labor service workers, and two office assistants. Many of her cameramen also dressed in SA uniforms so they could blend into the crowds.
"Shortly after he came to power Hitler called me to see him and explained that he wanted a film about a Party Congress, and wanted me to make it. My first reaction was to say that I did not know anything about the way such a thing worked or the organization of the Party, so that I would obviously photograph all the wrong things and please nobody — even supposing that I could make a documentary, which I had never yet done. Hitler said that this was exactly why he wanted me to do it: because anyone who knew all about the relative importance of the various people and groups and so on might make a film that would be pedantically accurate, but this was not what he wanted. He wanted a film showing the Congress through a non-expert eye, selecting just what was most artistically satisfying — in terms of spectacle, I suppose you might say. He wanted a film which would move, appeal to, impress an audience which was not necessarily interested in politics." -- Leni Riefenstahl
"If you see this film again today you ascertain that it doesn't contain a single reconstructed scene. Everything in it is true. And it contains no tendentious commentary at all. It is history. A pure historical film... it is film-vérité. It reflects the truth that was then in 1934, history. It is therefore a documentary. Not a propaganda film. Oh! I know very well what propaganda is. That consists of recreating events in order to illustrate a thesis, or, in the face of certain events, to let one thing go in order to accentuate another. I found myself, me, at the heart of an event which was the reality of a certain time and a certain place. My film is composed of what stemmed from that."