Hitler’s Olympics – Book Review

Hitler’s Olympics
by: Anton Rippon
Published by Sword and Pen
GV 722.R57
The book presents the 1936 Olympics which was the last Olympics before World War II.
First the author sets the scene describing the worsening situation in Germany and the decision process that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) went through in deciding to award the olympics to Berlin. Hindenberg was still in power, but the Nazi threat was growing ominously especially the anti-Semitism that the Nazi espoused. Shortly after the award Hindenberg appointed Hitler Chancellor and the Nazis took over the government. The IOC demanded that Jews must be allowed to compete and must be  treated well. Hitler was not too pleased to be told what to do, but eventually went along even though he was building concentration camps within a few miles of the Olympic Venue.
Remember, this is the Olympics where Jesse Owens, a black from America, won a number of gold medals. The book kills off several of the myths about Owens and Hitler and points out that Owens was treated worse when he got back home to America than he did in Berliln.
The book covers the origin of the tradition of runners bringing the Olympic Flame from Greece. It originated with the 1936 games.
The book covers the building of the venue, the ceremonies, the politics, and each sport in some detail. Interestingly, many world and Olympic records were broken at these games, some of which stood for another 20 years.
Paul McMahon

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