The Summer Olympics of 1936 were held in the city of Berlin, Germany, after the city won the bid to host the games in the year 1931. One of Hitler’s favorite filmmakers, Leni Riefenstahl was given the task of filming the Olympics completely.
The film, which was named “Olympia”, used numerous methods of cinematography which were later adopted by other filmmakers to shoot sports films. One of the largest controversies during the time leading up to the games was Hitler declaring that only people of the Aryan race were allowed to represent Germany. However, he also ordered his men to remove all the signs that were portraying his hatred of Jews, from Berlin.
The total amount of revenue that was generated via ticket sales was approximately 7.5 million Reich marks. The official budget drawn up for the games was enhanced considerably by the German Government, who spent approximately $30 million on capital outlays. The Organizing Committee issued a report which declared the total expenses to be approximately 16.5 million marks.
Bidding Process and Notable Highlights
The bidding process for selecting the host city for the 1936 Olympic Games was contested between Berlin and Barcelona. The result, however, was a unanimous one with Berlin winning more than twice the votes. As the process took place in Berlin when the Weimar Republic was in power, many historians noted the fascist leanings that the International Olympic Committee seemed to posses.
The 1936 Summer Olympics witnessed numerous path-breaking contributions in the field of athletics. Jesse Owens broke the world record for the 100m track event. He was also the first black individual to represent the United States. However, numerous controversies regarding his participation sprung up during the course of the games. History has it that Adolf Hitler refused to congratulate and shake hands with Jesse Owens after he won the event.
The United States of America debated on boycotting the games because some believed that it would give an indication of open support to the Nazi regime which was in power in Germany at that time. However, future president of the International Olympic Committee, Avery Brundage, who was a member of the US Olympic Committee, voiced his opinion saying that the games mustn’t be boycotted because Jewish athletes were being treated in a fair manner. He went on to say that politics and sports should always be kept apart and one mustn’t influence the other in any manner.
The 1936 Summer Olympics were the first Olympic Games that were broadcasted live on television. It was also the first Olympics where the Olympic Torch was brought inside the Olympic Village via a relay. The relay began in the city of Olympia in Greece, travelled across several countries and comprised of numerous athletes of different nations. The national anthem of the Republic of China i.e. “Three Principles of the People” was picked as the best national anthem in the games.
Another notable controversy during the games was the salute athletes had to perform in order to honor Hitler when they passed him in the opening and closing ceremonies. Even athletes from countries like Canada and France, which were not fascist in nature, did so but defended themselves by saying that they were, in fact, performing the official Olympic Salute. Both salutes, as a matter of coincidence, were startlingly identical.