What happened to Hitler's train

Hitler came to power : January 1933: Propaganda and Reality

Shaky, blurred images. Nothing more visually emerged when columns of uniformed National Socialists of the SA, the SS and the Stahlhelm marched through the Brandenburg Gate on the freezing night of January 30, 1933, the Prussian landmark. The radio quickly carried the news of the change of power in the politically fermenting country with its millions of unemployed.

But the emblematic pictures with which the night of the torchlight procession was supposed to be fixed as the historical moment in which the Weimar Republic was extinguished, the pictures were not very impressive. In the summer of 1933, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels therefore had Bavaria Film AG re-enact and re-shoot the scenes for the propaganda epic “SA-Mann Brand”. Now the columns marched through the illuminated gate to the game of light and dark, past the trellises saluting spectators with "Hitler salutes". If you take a closer look you can see that there were no crowds on the roadside, but Goebbels was dependent on the overall impression. The “Third Reich”, which dawned in January 1933, should and wanted to make use of the powerful aesthetics of visual representations from the start.

More vividly than the speeches of the new, criminal elite broadcast in the “Volksempfänger”, the pictures in the newsreels and the illustrated, aligned press conveyed what it was all about. Here, the pictures said, there are crowds on the street, and those who do not join will be mercilessly excluded. Goebbels hoped from the propaganda of these days and weeks that it would be “indelibly imprinted in the memory of the living generation”. January 30th marked the beginning of the anti-Jewish and anti-socialist "upheaval" that the NSDAP had promised for years, and all the core elements of Nazi propaganda were already condensing in the image of the usurped Brandenburg Gate.

Their overlap with Nazi practice was far greater than many contemporaries would later admit. The inclusion of the Brandenburg Gate in the staging shows how attention was paid to the symbolic occupation of historical markings. The re-enactment of the scenes takes place with access to visual, media manipulation; The center of the scene are the mobilized, unstoppable masses, through the torches the aspect of the archaic flares up.

The flames should spark the imagination that it was an ancient, ritual triumphal procession. State-of-the-art technology serves to evoke a prehistoric show of power.

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