1936 Olympic Games-Berlin

Berlin was awarded chance to host the 1936 Olympics in the year 1931 before Nazi party came to power. Hitler immediately seized on games as the chance to showcase the efficiency and might of his regime. There were doubts in many places about the wisdom of attending it. This essay critically analyses if Germany have been chosen to host the 1936 Olympics. In so doing it looks at the political policies and goals of Nazi government and how these policies impacted the Olympic Games.

After the award the political landscape of German came to worse in 1933 when Hitler and the German Nationalist Socialists attained power. The marks of violence and the racial intolerance escalated quickly to the point that soon would become the norm in German. The German parliament for example was burned to the ground allegedly by the communists.

The first international political test for the German that could have impacted on the Olympics of 1936 was the response that German had to give on the charges of racial and religious discrimination in Silesia before the League of Nations. The German government skillfully tried to bluff its way through the mess, but at last it failed. To avoid such like problems in international courts, it ended up withdrawing from the League of Nations but after its censure for human rights violations in Silesia.  


Another sinister component was the religious prosecution. The German nationalist socialists intended to push forward their agenda of hate and intolerance against all these that adhere to the faith of Jewish. In 1933 all sports organizations that adhered to the Jewish faith were disbanded officially in German. Only a few representations of Samuel K Marcabee and Schild organizations were allowed to continue with their operations. Following the enacted laws and enforced regulations, these who adhered to the faith of the Jewish were proscribed from attending facilities of any kind, that aided them in their effort to compete in the activities of sports or that assisted them in remaining physically fit. Whilst Hitler had his own political agenda in effect he was at the time quite pragmatic. In making sure that IOC does not pull out the games away from his hand, he had to make some political concessions in the Government of German. In 1936 January, a number of laws that were anti-Jewish were lifted temporarily to placate the IOC and the participants that were foreign. In real sense, this had no effect on racial and religious exclusion policies and practices of the Third Reich, without missing a beat they continued.

There were two exceptions to the sports exclusion policies of German. Ball Rudi an ice-hockey player living outside German and was a Jewish faith follower, was requested to specifically to come back to German to play during the winter Olympics only. He would leave German as soon as the winter games are over.  A Jewish heritage by the name Helen Mayer who resided in California, and was a world class fencing champion, was needed by German.  She was also requested to return home as well and in fact, she won the silver medal for Germany in individual fencing for women. From the perspective of German, the two individuals were however were prized far more for their propaganda value than for their contributions in sportsmanship.

After the German National Socialists attained power in 1933, there emerged many indeed efforts that were undertaken to move the both 1936 winter Olympic Games from Berlin to other place that was politically conducive. But on the other hand, to maintain a clear separation of politics from sports, the IOC in a number of times met on emergency sessions and decided to stand by its original decision of having the 1936 Olympic Games held in Berlin. The German Hitler government had to make many guarantees to IOC concerning the racial policies and the participation of from all walks of life from allover the world. The German government guaranteed that the citizens of German who were adherent to the faith of Jewish were to be allowed to join the Olympic team of German, in real sense they were excluded at large.

On the other hand, a peoples’ Olympiad was held in Barcelona from July 19, to July 26 1936. Their effort was the most promising from all of the alternate games. Many labor unions, communist and socialists parties from allover the world backed up the idea. In Barcelona free room and board were promised, but the problem was that every athlete was on her/his own in getting there terms. Despite the fact that there was Spanish civil war, shots fired by the republican and nationalists forces in all parts of the town.

There were international debates about boycotting the games. On fearing the a mass boycott the IOC pressurized the government of German and received the assurance that Jewish athletes that were qualified would be part of the team presented by Germany and that the games will not be used for the promotion of the ideologies of Nazi . Though at last Hitler’s government failed to deliver such promises. A country like French changed its decision and attended since the condition had changed. Though there were feelings that were strong for a boycott of the Berlin Olympic Games, as evident in many British spheres of influence till the last hour.

The arrival of invitation letter got the U.S. in a dilemma of attending or not attending. This was till Avery Brundage made a trip that was special to German to ascertain the practice of Germans on racial and religious intolerance in athletic and sports completion. He came back with favorable view of German’s treatment of people from allover the world. He stated that African-American and all these who are adherent to the Jewish faith will not be discriminated while in German. New York mayor opposed the idea on the ground that he didn’t really belief spin doctors of German Propagandaministerium. Fortune happened when Massachusetts state donated USD 10,000 to the Olympic team of U.S to go to Berlin.

The positive impact that was left in Berlin Olympic Games was the achievement in technology. The events were televised on a circuit system that was closed throughout the Olympic village, public halls and theatres in all corners of the country. The newsreel films were carried to the rest of Europe by Zeppelins, whilst the telex transmitted the results to the news media. Many athletes and press members were alarmed by nationalistic and militaristic atmosphere in Berlin. Swastika and icon-like portraits of Adolf, martial music in loudspeakers disturbed people. Many journalists believed to be anti-Nazi had their rooms secretly checked.

The surety in place of his smooth operation of propaganda made him not to prepare for one obstacle to his white-supremacist policies as the black American Owens won four gold medals. Hence certain denigration of black athletes by semi-official paper that called them America’s “black auxiliary” and even were not included in the daily score chart. As a way of showing that there was change in Germany, the German officials and the referees were evenhanded in all of their decisions they made, resulting to few complains regarding to bad calls. Fights were about to emerge between Britain and Canadian ice-hockey players as most of Britain players lived in Canada. 

In conclusion, despite of political pomposity and international cat-fighting efforts by many countries allover the world, only few countries boycotted the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. The entire traditional powerhouse like U.S. Japan, German, France, and Britain among others attended the games. Over 50 nations participated and over 4,500,000 tickets were sold to both visitors and the Germans.

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