At the beginning of the 20th Century the area that would become Langwasser was heavily wooded and part of the Imperial Forest. After devastating forest fires between 1917 and 1919 the area was cleared and used for farming.
Prior to WWII, the area which had been cleared by fire and was mostly unused became an important site for the Nazi movement. Beginning in 1934 it was the site of various tent cities and encampments. The area originally housed a tent encampment of the Reich Labor Service (RAD) and later the Hitler Youth (HJ). Permanent camps for the SS, SA, HJ, and RAD were built near the Nuremberg Rally Grounds. The Langwasser camp, with space for 200,000, was the largest. At the outbreak of World War II, party rallies ceased and the compound was converted into a POW camp known as Stalag 13 which housed up to 150,000 prisoners until closing in 1940. United States military records (World War II Prisoners of War Data File, 12/7/1941 - 11/19/1946) report that 6,676 American POWs were transferred there late in the war.
The actual history of Langwasser as a district begins after the Second World War in 1949. For ten years the area was a mixture of refugee camps and temporary housing developments. Construction of the first permanent housing developments did not begin until the 1950s. Many German refugees from Silesia and from the Sudetenland made Langwasser their new home.
The modern history of Langwasser begins with the decision of the city of Nuremberg to develop a planned community in the area marketed with the slogan "living in the country". An architectural competition was held in 1956 with construction beginning the following year. Construction was not fully completed until the 1990s.