Collector Basics - The Nurnberg Badge of 1929
As far as Hitler was concerned, a Nazi member who had a Coburg
Badge and a Nurnberg Partei Tag (Party Day) 1929 Badge had it all. They were the top two badges anyone could wear on their uniforms.
The Coburg Badge is covered elsewhere. But what made this little
1929 Party Day Badge so special?
In 1928, the Nazi Party was “going to hell in a handbasket". The Party was in a steep decline . . . it took a spectacular beating at the pulls that year. Things were so bad that there was no rally in 1928, . . there really wasn't much to celebrate. The Weimar Republic, which Hitler had criticized so blatantly, was whipping the Nazis badly in one political victory after another. Hitler had ranted about the occupation of the Ruhr — the French left it and the Weimar officials got the credit. Hitler raged about law and order. lt was restored, temporarily, and the Weimar officials took the bows. Hitler screamed about inflation. The Weimar leaders got the currency fairly stable.
A forecaster in 1928 would have had to have predicted nothing but
gloom — and doom — for the Nazi Party, if he had read the results of
the voting in 1928.
The Social Democrats increased their vote from 7.8 million to 9 million, whereas the extreme right wing German National Party dropped from 6,2 million to 4.3 million. The Nazis? They managed to put together only 810,000 votes, giving them only 12 of the 491 seats in the Reichstag.
lt is almost impossible to believe that before 5 years had passed they had all of the seats in the Reichstag. But this was not 1933. This was 1928, and things were very bad.
But closer analysis reveals that this defeat, which was dragging down all right wingers, was by far the best thing that could happen to Hitler, considering the circumstances. As right wingers lost more and more positions and power through the elections, they began to search around for
another cause around which to rally.
And so by 1929, things began to change in favor of Hitler. Germany's big industry began to support him. Alfred Hugenberg, a millionaire, led the pack. But he was more than just a rich man. Hugenberg owned a huge propaganda empire that he had bought with his profits from inflation, which included a chain of newspapers, news agencies, and the leading film company in Germany. lt became largely through Hugenberg's propaganda machine that Hitler managed to gain power.
Following Hugenberg's lead were other important groups, not the least of which were the Stahlhelm, the Pan-German League, Alberg Voegler, president of the United Steel Corporation, and finally Hjalmar Schacht, president of the German Reichsbank.
So the things that whipped Hitler in 1928 backlashed in his favor in 1929.
And thus the Nazis deduced they could hold their rally after all. And they did. lt was held in August. And it beat all spectacles until that time.
There were 34 new standards, 60,000 men, 2000 Hitler Youth. The City of Nuremberg had completed a statue in honor of the dead of World War I in 1927; little did the city fathers know it would be used by the Nazis as the centerpiece of their rallies from thenceforth.
On August 2, 1929, the Nazi Party convened its rally and began the next cycle of its tumultuous life that was to collapse in ruins only sixteen summers later.
At 11 am on that day in the Kulturuereinshaus, Gregor Strasser convened the congress. Julius Streicher welcomed the delegates and Adolf Wagner read Hitler's opening statement as Hitler sat passively by — it rehashed all of the old lines, including the injustice shown to German soldiers by the home front during the first War, the Versailles Treaty injustices, and finally turned his tirade against the Communists and, of course, the Jews.
Gottfried Feder spoke during the afternoon, discussing the Young Plan which required Germany to pay reparations for 59 years. Historians have always felt this was an oppressive idea, even though the reparations were less than those imposed under the previous Dawes Plan, but they
were cannon fodder for the Nazis and were used to great advantage.
The highlight of August 3 was a fireworks display at night, preceded by a huge torchlight parade. . Nurenberg was seeing the first of the pageantry that it would watch in amazement over the next years. The most spectacular display featured a swastika surrounded by a circle of green leaves and topped with a huge eagle. This appeared as five bands accompanied the crowd in singing the national anthem.
The following day the spectators and participants took part in a memorial celebration for the dead of World War l. In front of the aforementioned War Memorial, a stone coffin was topped by a helmet and covered with hundreds of wreaths. Hitler arrived with dozens of flags and there
General von Epp made a short speech. Then the highest leaders of the Party and the standard bearers made their way onto the huge field while the band played a march. As new standards passed, Hitler touched each with the "Blood Flag" of the 1923 Putsch. This segment of the rally concluded with the huge crowd chanting in unison "Deutchland Erwache"
(Germany Awake!) which was to become its rallying cry for the years to follow.
This day was the occasion for Hitler`s major speech and though it sounds tired today, in 1929 he made it sound energetic as he recounted the history of the Party.
What made the spectacle impressive was the number of participants from all over Germany and even from other countries: Delegates marched from northen Germany and the middle and southern provinces . . . it took delegates from the south more than an hour just to march by! Many Hitler Youth marched. Delegates came from North and South America, Sudentenland, South Africa, Sweden and Austria.
That evening the participants met again in the Kulturuereinshaus and heard Alfred Rosenberg lash out against his favorite foe — Communism, to the roars of the crowd.
One of the most prophetic speeches came from Konstantin Hierl, who virtually proclaimed that the Nazis would cause the state to be ready — and willing — to resort to war, if necessary, once the Nazis had achieved power. This was strong talk at a time when the whole world was making an attempt to recover from the "War to End All Wars", but Hierl left no one in doubt when he said "As long as free nations exist that are willing to work toward their political goals, only war will be able to achieve the ultimate political aim."
Hitler closed the congress with a final address on the evening of August 5, when he spoke on the deterioration of German national power and said Germany’s leaders to date had turned a great nation into nothing more than a stale tourist country.
As he called his country to his version of greatness, which banished the weak, the political opposition, and the Jews from any role in society and included the resort to war if necessary to obtain what was rightfully Germany's, Hitler watched with pride as the audience roared its approval, One can assume that in his own mind he had no doubt that he had taken the first step toward superstardom. Little did he know this was his first giant step toward infamy.
And that brings us to the badge.
The badge measures 21mm wide by 48mm high and was worn on the left breast. The Nurnberg Watchtower is featured on the top, with the word NURNBERG in capital letters beneath the tower. An eagle stands on a helmet in the center of the badge. surrounded by the wording
19I4-1919 NSDAP PARTEITAG 1929.
lt was produced in bronze, zinc (silver) and gold.
Additionally, there was a non-portable award measuring 35mm wide by 80mm high in bronze, silver and gold. It was given to individuals who participated in events at the rally.
There are, in this writers opinion, fewer fakes of this badge on tables at shows than of many others. True, 60,000 were awarded, which would make them rather plentiful (as compared t0, say, the 436 Coburg Badges).
Collectors should remember that the Germans were fanatics for detail . Look for the highest quality you can find, Look for high relief of the details and unblemished backgrounds in the badges.
Mickey Huffman, Hitler's Favorite Political badges and decorations, vol.1, The Promethian Press, 1990