Berlin 1936: Germany’s Mask


Lucas Jablonski, Staff Writer

Hitler’s Germany, a country filled with death, destruction, and persecution, but it was well disguised during the Berlin Olympics.  Hidden from the world were the mass imprisonments and killings, and a façade of peace and tranquility was established.  Going into that year, a boycott was suggested by many countries, including the United States, who believed the Nazi ideals to be unjust, but the plans did not come to fruition as the Olympic Committee rejected the idea.  

When the United States olympic team arrived in Berlin, they were met with joyful German citizens waving flags and cheering alongside the freshly paved and swept streets.  They did not see the anti-semitism or chaos that was under the surface; the broken windows of Jewish owned stores, the people herded into trucks like cattle.

This was their plan from the beginning.  Germany had been given a chance to show how they had recovered from the financial loss and poverty brought on by the outcome of the First World War, and Hitler used this to the Nazi’s advantage.  They put their power and financial stability on display while also planning a takeover of Europe and the imprisonment of millions of Jews. 

Three years later, the Nazis invaded Poland sparking the onset of a 6 year long war.  These olympics served as the world’s first glimpse at Nazi Germany, and the world was deceived.  

One of the greatest, and most known, triumphs of these Olympic games was the premiere of runner Jesse Owens.  He was the first American to win four gold medals in track and field, and he did so in a country where he was considered inferior.  He won gold in the 100 meter, 200 meter, long jump, and 4×100 relay, emerging as the face of the Berlin Olympics.

To find out more about the Berlin Olympics visit: and