Friday, August 16, 2013

August 16 - 1936 Summer Olympics, Berlin

August 16, 1936, was the final day of the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in Berlin, Germany. The event, officially called the Games of the XI Olympiad, was awarded to Berlin over Barcelona by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1931, two years before Adolf Hitler seized power. When the Nazi regime established racist and anti-Semitic policies, the IOC began to consider changing its decision, but relented when the Nazis gave assurances that Jewish athletes would be allowed to compete on a German team. The promises were hollow. Launched on August 1, the Games were held in a tense, politically charged atmosphere. Though Hitler said they would not be used to promote Nazi ideology, pro-Aryan pamphlets were everywhere. Berlin and the massive sports complex, Reich Sports Field, comprising four stadiums, were heavily bedecked in Nazi banners and symbols. The Games were televised for the first time, via closed circuit to theatres in Berlin, and were the first to have a torch relay that transported the Olympic flame from Greece.

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