Nuremberg held great significance during the Nazi Germany period. Because of the city's relevance to the Holy Roman Empire and its position in the center of Germany, the Nazi Party chose the city to be the site of huge Nazi Party conventions–the Nuremberg rallies. The rallies were held annually from 1927 to 1938 in Nuremberg. After Hitler's rise to power in 1933 the Nuremberg rallies became huge state propaganda events, a center of anti-Semitism and other Nazi ideals. At the 1935 rally, Hitler specifically ordered the Reichstag to convene at Nuremberg to pass the anti-Semitic Nuremberg Laws which revoked German citizenship for all Jews. A number of premises were constructed solely for these assemblies, some of which were not finished. Today many examples of Nazi architecture can still be seen in the city. The city was also the home of the Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher, the publisher of Der Stürmer.
During World War II, Nuremberg was the headquarters of Wehrkreis (military district) XIII, and an important site for military production, including airplanes, submarines, and tank engines. A subcamp of Flossenbürg concentration camp was located here. Extensive use was made of slave labour. The city was severely damaged in Allied strategic bombing from 1943-1945. On January 2, 1945, the medieval city centre was systematically bombed by the Royal Air Force and the U.S. Army Air Forces and about ninety percent of it was destroyed in only one hour, with 1,800 residents killed and roughly 100,000 displaced. In February 1945, additional attacks followed. In total, about 6,000 Nuremberg residents are estimated to have been killed in air raids. Despite this, the city was rebuilt after the war and was to some extent, restored to its pre-war appearance including the reconstruction of some of its medieval buildings.
Defendants in the dock at Nuremberg Trials
Between 1945 and 1946, German officials involved in the Holocaust and other war crimes were taken in front of an international tribunal in the Nuremberg Trials. The Soviet Union had wanted the trials to take place in Berlin, but Nuremberg was chosen as the site for the trials for specific reasons: