1936 Olympics

Nazi Germany used the 1936 Olympic Games for propaganda purposes. The Nazis promoted an image of a new, strong, and united Germany while masking the regime’s targeting of Jews and Roma (Gypsies) as well as Germany’s growing militarism.

For the first time in the history of the modern Olympic Games, people in the United States and Europe called for a boycott of the Olympics because of what would later become known as human rights abuses. Although the movement ultimately failed, it set an important precedent for future Olympic boycott campaigns.

On August 1, 1936, Hitler opened the XIth Olympiad. Musical fanfares directed by the famous composer Richard Strauss announced the dictator’s arrival to the largely German crowd. Hundreds of athletes in opening day regalia marched into the stadium, team by team in alphabetical order. Inaugurating a new Olympic ritual, a lone runner arrived bearing a torch carried by relayfrom the site of the ancient Games in Olympia, Greece.

Forty-nine athletic teams from around the world competed in the Berlin Olympics, more than in any previous Olympics. Germany fielded the largest team with 348 athletes. The US team was the second largest, with 312 members, including 18 African Americans. American Olympic Committee President Avery Brundage led the delegation. The Soviet Union did not participate in the Berlin Games. [Via: ushmm.org]

Olympia is a 1938 German documentary film written, directed and produced by Leni Riefenstahl, documenting the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, Germany. The film was released in two parts: Olympia 1. Teil — Fest der Völker (Festival of Nations) and Olympia 2. Teil — Fest der Schönheit (Festival of Beauty). It was the first documentary feature film of the Olympic Games ever made. Many advanced motion picture techniques, which later became industry standards but which were groundbreaking at the time, were employed —including unusual camera angles, smash cuts, extreme close-ups, placing tracking shot rails within the bleachers, and the like. The techniques employed are almost universally admired, but the film is controversial due to its political context. Nevertheless, the film appears on many lists of the greatest films of all time, including Time magazine’s “All-Time 100 Movies.” [Via: wikipedia]

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