Saturday, March 9, 2013

Nazi rally in the Cathedral of Light, c. 1937

Nazi rally in the Cathedral of Light c. 1937
The lights were originally intended (and later used) for highlighting enemy airplanes so that the flak can easily shoot them down at night. Being spotted by such a searchlight usually was a death sentence for an allied bomber. Those used at this event had a range of about ten to twelve kilometers.Albert Speer, Hitler's favorite architect, was behind this event and supposedly had the idea to use 134 of them for the closing ceremonies and all yearly rallies held by the Nazi party in Nuremberg from 1936 till the beginning of the war. The location was the Zeppelinfeld, built for more than 300 000 participants as part of a massive complex specifically made for those events. It's still mostly intact interestingly.

As for the lights used in the event: Developed in the late 1930s, the Flak Searchlight-34 and -37 used 150-centimetre-diameter parabolic glass reflectors with an output of 990 million candelas. The system was powered by a 24-kilowatt generator, based around a 51-horsepower (38 kW) 8-cylinder engine, giving a current of 200 amperes at 110 volts. The searchlight was attached to the generator by a cable 200 meters long. The system had a detection range of about 8 kilometers for targets at an altitude of between 4000 and 5000 meters. The system could be made mobile using two sets of Special Trailer 104 units, one for the searchlight and one for the generator. It required a crew of seven people to operate it.So they were using 3120KW of engine power

William L. Shirer, an American journalist in Berlin during 1934 wrote, “I’m beginning to comprehend some of the reasons for Hitler’s success. He is restoring pageantry and color and mysticism to the drab lives of 20th century Germans.”

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