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NSDAP Rise to Power
German 1923 Inflation
German Elections
Winterhilfswerk
Greater German Reich
Berlin Olympics 1936
Munich Conference
Fall of France
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Battle for the North Atlantic
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War in North Africa
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America at War
German Home Front
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Selected Exhibits > Berlin Olympics 1936
   Exhibits
   Selected Exhibits
   1. NSDAP Rise to Power
   2. Berlin Olympics 1936
   3. Hitler Youth
   4. Winterhilfswerk
   5. Battle of Britain
   6. German Home Front
   7. America at War
   8. Russian Front
   9. Holocaust
   10. Liberation of Europe

Germany was awarded the Olympics two years before Hitler became Chancellor. Originally Hitler was not in favor of sponsoring the Olympics but it was Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, who convinced him of the Olympic propaganda value. The event reportedly cost 20,000,000 Reichsmarks ($8,000,000). The Olympics was a tremendous success in terms of the public relations and showcasing the new Germany.

OFFICIAL OLYMPIC POSTCARD. Forty-nine athletic teams from around the world competed in the Berlin Olympics. Germany had the largest team at the Berlin Games with 348 athletes.

Germany dominated the Olympic Games and won the most number of medals. Germany was first with 89 medals and the United States was second with 56. It was not until the 1952 Helsinki Games that the Soviet Union participated.

These were the games that introduced the running of the Olympic torch from the site of the first Olympic Games in Greece. The Greek runner Konstanin Kondyllis ran the first leg of the 3000 km trip to Berlin. It took 11 days and 12 nights for the Olympic torch to reach Berlin.


CIGARETTE BOOKS. To promote cigarette sales the packets contained numbered coupons that could be sent off to the "Cigaretten Bilderdienst" (Cigarette picture service) in exchange for a set of pictures. Over time albums for the pictures were published which took the form of books published without pictures, and the cigarette pictures were stuck in to provide the illustrations.

Book One in the Olympic cigarette book series documents the 1936 winter Olympic held the in Bavarian twin towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen from February 6 - 16. The towns were joined together under orders from Hitler to organize the games. Book Two documents the summer games in Berlin.


CIGARETTE BOOK "OLYMPIC 1936 - BOOK TWO - THE XI. OLYMPIC GAMES IN BERLIN 1936". The book documents the summer Olympics with text and pictures for each of the 129 event held in 19 sports events (4,066 athletes participating - 3,738 men, 328 women). The caption reads,

"Adolf Hitler salutes the Olympic flag, after he declared the official start of the XI. Olympic Games in Berlin".
A painting with the caption,

"The airship Hindenburg over the Reich's Sports Stadium on the day of the opening ceremonies of the XI. Olympic Games, Berlin 1936".
The black sprinter and long jumper Jesse Owens who won 4 gold medals.

One of the popular myths about these Olympics is that Hitler refused to meet Jesse Owens at the medals ceremony. Prior to the start of the Olympics Hitler was given the choice of meeting with all the medal winners or with none. He opted to meet with none.


SOUVENIR OLYMPIC GAMES CUFF LINKS. Matching pair of red enamel cuff links showing the Brandenburg Gate with "Olympics...Berlin 1936"



1936 BERLIN OLYMPIC SOVENIER HANKERCHIEF. Printed on the linen handkerchief is the Olympics symbol and the flags of each country that participated.


1936 BERLIN OLYMPIC GAMES MAGAZINE. This official Olympic guide was distributed to foreign visitors, "Presented by the Reich Committee for Tourist Traffic". This pictorial section is A Day in Life the Furher. This souvenir magazine is packed with photos of pre war Germany. Edited by Heinrich Hoffmann it is written in German, English, French and Spanish.
The introduction reads,

"The committee for German Tourist Traffic cordially welcomes you to Germany. The pleasure we experience from your visit on the occasion of the eleventh celebration of the Olympic Games is as great as our desire to make your stay in Germany as pleasant and enjoyable as possible. We sincerely hope that you will take home with you the very best impressions of our country. May this small pamphlet of Berlin, the Capital of the Reich, be a token of our friendly intentions toward you and a happy souvenir to remind you of your visit to Germany during the Olympic Games 1936."


Through the use of colorful posters and magazine spreads Germany skillfully promoted the Olympics. Athletic imagery drew a link between the new Germany and ancient Greece, symbolizing the National Socialist racial ideal that a superior German civilization was the rightful heir of an "Aryan" culture of classical antiquity. This vision of classical antiquity emphasized ideal "Aryan" racial types: heroic, blue-eyed blonds with finely chiseled features.

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