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NSDAP Celebrations

April 20 1939 – Der 50. Geburtstag des Führers

The 50th birthday of Adolf Hitler on 20 April 1939 was celebrated as a national holiday throughout Germany and other parts of the world.

Gifts and telegrams of congratulations were received from all over Germany and allied countries, although the Western Allies neglected congratulating the Führer.

The birthday celebration saw, among other events, the largest military parade in the history of the Third Reich, with army, air force, navy and SS units, numbering almost 50,000 in total, marching through the streets of Berlin in Hitler’s honor.

On 18 April 1939, the German government declared that their Führer Adolf Hitler’s birthday (20 April) to be a national holiday. Festivities took place in all municipalities throughout the country, as well as in the Free City of Danzig.

The parade, which lasted about five hours, included 12 companies of the Luftwaffe, 12 companies of the army, and 12 companies of the navy, as well as units of the Schutzstaffel (SS). In total, 40,000 to 50,000 German troops took part. 162 warplanes flew over Berlin. The grandstand comprised 20,000 official guests, and the parade was watched by several hundred thousand spectators.

Joseph Goebbels, the event’s organizer, declared in a broadcast address to the German people:

The Reich stands in the shadow of the German sword. Trade and industry, and cultural and national life flourish under the guarantee of the military forces. The name of Herr Hitler is our political programme. Imagination and realism are harmoniously combined in the Führer.

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Banners hang from buildings in honor of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939. The words on the banner, Wir danken dir (“We thank you”), reference a famous Bach cantata, Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir (“We thank you, God, we thank you”), but are obviously addressed to Hitler.

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The automobile engineer Ferdinand Porsche (in suit), Adolf Hitler and, immediately to Hitler’s left, the head of the German Labour Front, Robert Ley, admire Hitler’s birthday gift on his 50th birthday: a convertible Volkswagen.

The automobile engineer and designer Ferdinand Porsche (in suit) presents Adolf Hitler with a model car during celebrations for Hitler's 50th birthday, Berlin, April 1939.

The automobile engineer and designer Ferdinand Porsche (in suit) presents Adolf Hitler with a model car during celebrations for Hitler’s 50th birthday, Berlin, April 1939.

The automobile engineer and designer Ferdinand Porsche (in suit) presents Hitler with a convertible Volkswagen for Hitler's 50th birthday, Berlin, Germany, April 20, 1939.

The automobile engineer and designer Ferdinand Porsche (in suit) presents Hitler with a convertible Volkswagen for Hitler’s 50th birthday, Berlin, Germany, April 20, 1939. “Hitler loved to have his driver tear along at 80 mph,” LIFE magazine once noted, “until 1939 when he turned superstitious about accidents and made 35 mph the limit.”

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Adolf Hitler shakes hands with one of his personal photographers, Heinrich Hoffmann, while his doctor, Theodor Morrell (right) waits to greet the Fuhrer on Hitler’s 50th birthday, April 20, 1939, in Berlin.

Adolf Hitler receives a model of a Condor airplane as a gift on his 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939. Beside Hitler (left) stands Capt. Hans Bauer, his personal pilot.

Adolf Hitler receives a model of a Condor airplane as a gift on his 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939. Beside Hitler (left) stands Capt. Hans Bauer, his personal pilot.

Solid gold model of the Haus der Deutschen Kunst (a celebrated German museum), a gift from Luftwaffe commander Hermann Goering to Adolf Hitler on Hitler's 50th birthday, April 20, 1939.

Solid gold model of the Haus der Deutschen Kunst (a celebrated German museum), a gift from Luftwaffe commander Hermann Goering to Adolf Hitler on Hitler’s 50th birthday, April 20, 1939.

A hand-worked castle inlaid with precious stones given to Adolf Hitler on his 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

A hand-worked castle inlaid with precious stones given to Adolf Hitler on his 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Some of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday gifts stored in a room at the Reich Chancellery, Berlin, April 1939.

Some of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday gifts stored in a room at the Reich Chancellery, Berlin, April 1939.

Some of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday gifts — including flower vases emblazoned with swastikas — stored in a room at the Reich Chancellery, Berlin, April 1939.

Some of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday gifts — including flower vases emblazoned with swastikas — stored in a room at the Reich Chancellery, Berlin, April 1939.

A rally in celebration of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

A rally in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

The Ost-West-Achse (East-West Axis) in Berlin, site of a massive rally and parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday, April 20, 1939.

The Ost-West-Achse (East-West Axis) in Berlin, site of a massive rally and parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, April 20, 1939.

German troops marching past the reviewing stand during a massive rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthdayBerlin, April 20, 1939. (Hitler can be seen in center, reviewing troops.)

German troops marching past the reviewing stand during a massive rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthdayBerlin, April 20, 1939. (Hitler can be seen in center, reviewing troops.)

Heavy artillery passes the reviewing stand during a military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Heavy artillery passes the reviewing stand during a military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Guests of honor at a rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Guests of honor at a rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Berlin's Brandenburg gate and colonnades are lit up at night in honor of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday, April 20, 1939.

Berlin’s Brandenburg gate and colonnades are lit up at night in honor of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

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Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

Rally and military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, Berlin, April 20, 1939.

The NSDAP congratulating Hitler at the Reichskanzlei in Berlin for his 50th birthday, April 20, 1939.

The NSDAP congratulating Hitler at the Reichskanzlei in Berlin for his 50th birthday, April 20, 1939.

Soldiers of the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler march through Berlin during the military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday, April 20, 1939.

Soldiers of the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler march through Berlin during the military parade in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, April 20, 1939.

Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler presents Hitler with a gift  in celebration of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday, April 20, 1939.

Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler presents Hitler with a gift in celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday, April 20, 1939.

Buildings on the Marktplatz in Bad Kissingen were decorated in commemoration of Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday.

Buildings on the Marktplatz in Bad Kissingen were decorated in commemoration of Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday.

Celebration of Hitler's 50th birthday in a German club in Australia!

Celebration of Hitler’s 50th birthday in a German club in Australia!

The following photographs are from a book published in 1939 by Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler’s chief photographer –  Ein Volk ehrt seinen Führer. Der 20. April 1939 im Bild (Berlin: Zeitgeschichte-Verlag Wilhelm Andermann, 1939).

The frontpiece of the book.

The front piece of the book.

This is the guest book for the occasion. Rudolf Hess, on behalf of the NSDAP, is making the first entry.

This is the guest book for the occasion. Rudolf Hess, on behalf of the NSDAP, is making the first entry.

Hermann Göring extends his best wishes.

Hermann Göring extends his best wishes.

Here Hitler is looking at a large model of the West Wall, the fortifications Germany built along the border with France.

Here Hitler is looking at a large model of the West Wall, the fortifications Germany built along the border with France.

The caption here: 'Cheerfully and joyfully, even the smallest children bring their floral bouquets and read their little poems.'

The caption here: ‘Cheerfully and joyfully, even the smallest children bring their floral bouquets and read their little poems.’

5

Hitler saluting passing soldiers.

Hitler saluting passing soldiers.

Another view looking toward Hitler in the center.

Another view looking toward Hitler in the center.

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