Film

Olympic Games in Berlin

The 1936 Summer Olympic Games were held in Berlin. For two weeks, Adolf Hitler camouflaged his antisemitic and expansionist agenda while hosting the games. Hoping to impress the many foreign visitors who were in Germany for the games, Hitler authorized a brief relaxation in anti-Jewish activities (including the removal of signs barring Jews from public places). The games were a resounding propaganda success for the Nazis. They presented foreign spectators with the image of a peaceful and tolerant Germany. The 1936 Games also saw the introduction of the Olympic torch relay, in which a lighted torch is carried from Olympia to the site hosting the Olympic Games. This footage shows the inauguration of this new ritual, as a torch bearer brings the Olympic torch to the stadium. Hundreds of athletes in opening day regalia marched into the stadium, team by team in alphabetical order. Adolf Hitler presided over the opening of the games.

Transcript

Berlin sounds the curtain call for the greatest athletic show on earth and the magnitude of Germany's display of pomp and pageantry would be fit at the coronation of a king. But today, political destinies are forgotten as the flaming Olympic torch is borne aloft on its way to the stadium altar, the goal of its 1,000-mile journey by relay runners from Athens, Grecian site of the first Olympiad nearly 3,000 years ago. Then to the main arena, where a throng of 110,000 spectators acclaim the arrival of the official procession, headed by Germany's number one host, Chancellor Hitler, who pauses to accept a floral tribute amid the reverberating roar of the crowd. In the ceremonial parade which follows, America's standard passes proudly in review at the head of Uncle Sam's formidable team, 379 strong—a display which draws an Olympic salute. And here are the ladies on whom we depend. Great Britain this year sends a gold-medal team. France is here to defend its equestrian, fencing, and wrestling crowns. And still they come, 53 nations in all.


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