The Berlin Olympics | tutor2u History
Study notes

The Berlin Olympics

  • Levels: GCSE
  • Exam boards: AQA, Edexcel, OCR

Prior to the Nazis coming to power in Germany, the 1936 Olympics had been awarded to Berlin. After the Nazis came to power, Hitler wanted to use the 1936 Olympics as a piece of propaganda to demonstrate the superiority of Nazi Germany and the Aryan race.

The Nazis used the Games as a propaganda showpiece and all aspects of Nazi Germany in the best light. No detail was left to chance or an opportunity missed to show off. The stadium that was built in Berlin was the largest stadium in the world. It featured huge numbers of swastikas and could seat over 100,000 people. It was the first Olympic Games to be televised and were broadcast to large screens outside of the stadium. The Nazis commissioned filmmakers to record the event which were then subsequently used for propaganda purposes.

The Games were hailed as a success for Nazism as Germany topped the leaderboard for medals. However there were a few incidents which caused embarrassment to the Nazis. African American athlete Jesse Owens won four gold medals in the 100m, 200m, long jump and the 4 x100m, meaning that the Nazi ideal of Ayran supremacy could be called into question.

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