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The March to the Fuhrer (1940)

The March to the Fuhrer

‘Der Marsch zum Führer’ (The March to the Führer) is a Nazi propaganda film released in 1940. It depicts the nationwide march of Hitler Youth (HJ) to Nuremberg for the Nazi Party Rally. Unlike the earlier Leni Riefenstahl Nuremberg documentaries, it doesn’t focus on the Party congress itself, or on Nazi leaders, who are not shown until the very end of the film. Instead, it follows HJ boys from various parts of Nazi Germany beginning their journey, being taken in by helpful families on the way, and marching through cities in formation, saluting and waving the swastika banner.

Their pilgrimage is climaxed by the colorful ceremonies of the Nuremberg Congress as they parade before their Führer and are addressed by Nazi youth leader Shirach, Rudolf Hess, and Hitler himself. Behind the splendid pageantry of this film and the remarkable discipline of its participants is revealed, as vividly as in any cinematic record in existence, the skill of the Nazi leaders in preparing Germany’s youth, both physically and psychologically, for war.

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