Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Politics of Racial Discrimination at the Berlin 1936 Summer Olympics

The 1936 Summer Olympics were held in Berlin, during the NAZI regime and it was Adolf Hitler, then the Germany Chancellor who officially opened the 10 edition of the Summer Olympics at the Berlin’s Olympics Stadium.

Of course Hitler’s tyrannical regime hoped that the games would give them a platform to promote his government’s belief on the Aryan race supremacy but this was shattered by USA team who included the Best 1936 Summer Olympics Games Athlete; Jesse Owen and other African American and Jews athletes who were part of Team USA.

This was after a backdrop of the fact that the host did not want Jews or Blacks allowed participation in these Games. The world refused to accept this kind of inferior and superior race nonsense with even some nations and athletes threatening to boycott the games due to the host’s racist policies. The international debate about a possible boycott was effective and the host gave in.

It was due to this debate that Germany feared it would lead to mass boycott that the host allowed the Blacks and Jews to participate and Jesse Owen made the whole world proud by becoming the best athlete of the First ever Germany Summer Olympics games. This edition of the games had competitors from 49 who would be at war within 3 years.

Further relief from this racial discrimination state was the removal of racial hatred signs including “Jews not wanted” in many of the tourists’ venues. This was part of the city cleaning though in the process, all the Romani were taken off the streets and kept in the Berlin-Marzahn concentration camp.

It was not only Hitler who was promoting the racial discrimination but also the head of Reich Sports Office; Hans von Tschammer und Osten who believed that sport was a way of natural selection method of weeding off the weak and undesirable society elements including the Blacks, Romani and Jews. Hans von also believed that the sport was a good avenue of uniting the Germans as well as strengthening them.

Besides, the NAZI government mouth piece; The Völkischer Beobachter was vocal in claiming that the Black and Jews athletes should not be allowed to take part because they were inferior, with the boycott for the 1936 Summer Olympics being considered the Germany Team allowed Helene Mayer who had a Jewish father to join the Germany Team though she did not consider herself a Jew.

Jesse Owen was the winner of the following men’s track events; 100 meters, 200 meters and the 4 by 100 meters relay. Jesse was awarded the world marks in the 200 meters as well as 200 meters hurdles. Jesse also won the long jump. That was the best way to the kill the notion of Aryan supremacy.

Besides, Team USA had 9 other African American competitors who did not only give astonishing results, but won seven gold medals out of the team’s 24, three silvers medals out of the team’s 20 and three bronze medals out of Team USA 12.

Jesse Owen shattered the racial supremacy belief so badly by breaking 11 records. But the politics of racism in the 1936 Olympics saw Hitler refuse to place the gold medal on the neck of the most outstanding athlete of these Berlin games; Jesse Owen. He also broke 11 Olympic records during the 1936 Games.

Picture of Jesse Owens at the start of the 200 meters race during the Olympic Games 1936 in Berlin, Owen broke the of record for these 200 meters Race.

This Picture is from Wikipedia on Creative Common License

The NAZI Germany Aryan Supremacy turned comical during the 1st of August opening ceremony when Hitler who had turned the German people to cult followers who swayed and screamed to have him address them. This he did this in his own box that was placed top of all other boxes to make him appear higher among other beings. He was using the Olympics as way of glorifying himself almost like a god of some sort.

However, this turned out to be more hilarious than it was insanity as 25,000 pigeons released to the sky clouding it as they went on circling overhead of the Berlin Olympics Stadium and thus stealing Hitler’s show.

This resulting to the soldiers firing a canon and with the pigeons scared, they dropped their poop and your guess is as good as mine, the crowd below were littered with the pigeons poop making the entire opening ceremony comical and failing to give Hitler his most wanted glorifying moment, this is according to Louis Zamperini, one of the Team USA long distance runner.

Zamperini finished eighth but at one point of the 5000 meters race he ran so fast that Hitler had to meet him and commented and said “that he was a fast boy”. Zamperini later became a war hero, who was captured and tortured by the Japanese during the Second World War.

Avery Brundage; The USA Olympic Committee’s President, was vocal in requesting for the female athletes to undergo a sex test to ensure that they were actually women and not men canvasing as women. In the media back then, this came to be known as sex ambiguities. This was due to former Olympics competitors who had a sex change, from women to men. The most notable of these athletes who had sex surgery were the Team England’s shot put thrower Mary Edith Louise Weston who changed her gender through sex surgery and became Mark Weston. Mary Edith Louise Weston also threw javelin for her team. The other sex ambiguities cases was from Zdenka Koubkova; a Czechoslovak team member who run and jumped for her team, she also had a sex surgery becoming a man by the name of Zdenek Koubek.

A picture of Julius Lippert; anti-Semite and Nazi Politician, Avery Brundage and Theodor Lewald, who was organizing the 1938 Berlin Summer Olympics on behalf of Reich Sports Office, Lippert was also part of team that was organizing the 1938 Games by making good impression for foreigners and tourists.

This Picture is from Wikipedia on Creative Common License

History always remembers Avery Brundage controversially supporting Berlin hosting the 1936 Summer Olympics by arguing that politics has no place in sport. He lobbied and travelled to Germany and assured the American people that the Nazi Germany had no racial segregation on its people, all this to ensure that Team USA participated in the 1938 games.

Besides, two Athletes who were to take part in the 4 by 100m relay were pulled out of the race because they were Jews, and all fingers pointed to Avery. It was rumored that he pulled out Sam Stoller and Marty Glickman from the team because he did not want Hitler to get more disappointed after 2 wins by Jesse Owen. However, Jesse was part of the relay team that won 4 by 100m relay gold medal and hence Hitler still got disappointed. Avery Brundage who later became the president of IOC was always surrounded by controversies.

There have been rumors that the French team gave a Roman salute that was considered fascist but the team has vehemently refused it was such a salute saying that what they gave was the Olympics salute which by the way was not very different, we will never know what salute the French team displayed as they passed at the podium.

The controversial 1938 Summer Olympics Games always creates debate as to what was supposed to be done and who did what wrong, but all in all, it should have been boycotted.