The Nazi Olympics of 1936 Essay

The Nazi Olympics of 1936 Essay

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Most people would classify the Berlin Olympic Games of 1936 as just another Olympics, and they would be right because the Games did have the classic triumphs and upsets that occur at all Olympic Games. What most people did not see, behind the spectacle of the proceedings, was the effect the Nazi party had on every aspect of the Games including the results. Despite Nazi Germany’s determination to come off as the superior nation in the 1936 Olympics, their efforts were almost crushed by the very people they were trying to exclude.
Germany made it very clear prior to the Olympics that they were in fact an anti-Semitic race. Before the Olympics there were anti-Jewish signs hung around and newspapers had a harsh rhetoric. During the Games, these incriminating items were put out of sight giving foreigners visiting for the Games a false impression of the real Germany (“Nazi” 2).When American swimmer Adolf Kiefer visited Germany in 1935 he said he saw that the acts against Jews were quite obvious, but when he returned for the Olympics in 1936 he did not see one Star of David to single out a Jew (Walters 238-239).
To add to their deceit towards the world, the German Olympic Team allowed part-Jewish fencer, Helen Mayer, to compete for them. “She won a silver medal in women’s individual fencing” (“Nazi” 2). After Helen accepted her medal, she gave the Nazi salute. Mayer’s act appalled fellow Jews for years (Walters 214). However, reporter William Shirer looked beyond the façade that was the Nazi Propaganda Machine and saw Germany for the country it truly was (“Nazi” 3).
The Nazis’ use of media alone set this Olympics high above its predecessors. These Games the first Olympics to be televised (Wallechinsky 11). “Twenty-five televisio...


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MacNee, Marie J., and Rebecca Nelson, eds. The Olympic Factbook: a Spectator's Guide

to the Summer Games. Detroit: Visible Ink, 1996. Print.

"Nazi Olympics, Berlin 1936." ushmm.org. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

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http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005680.

“Olympic Games." World Book Encyclopedia N-O. 2007 ed. Vol. 14. Chicago: World

Book, 2007. 746-55. Print.

Trueman, Chris. "The 1936 Berlin Olympics." History Learning Site. 2000-2011. Web.

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Walters, Guy. Berlin Games: How the Nazis Stole the Olympic Dream. New York:

William Morrow, 2006. Print.

Wallechinsky, David. The Complete Book of the Summer Olympics: Athens 2004 Edition.

Wilmington, DE: Sport Classic, 2004. Print.

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