Germany won the bid to host the 1936 Summer Olympics two years before the Nazi Party came to power, and Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler saw this as an opportunity to spread Nazi propaganda and build up Germany’s military machine.
Hitler oversaw the construction of the Olympic village in Wustermark, on the outskirts of Berlin. In its heyday the now decaying complex included state-of-the-art dormitories, dining areas, training facilities, a swimming pool and hosted some 4,000 athletes in luxury accommodations the likes of which had rarely be seen. Ironically, it was designed to portray an idyllic, picturesque image of a peaceful Germany to the world (the 1936 Games were the first to be televised) and the Führer even named the complex the “village of peace.” Meanwhile, the intention from the start was for the German army to use the complex once the Games were finished.
Hitler also tried to force anti-semitic politics on the event, lobbying to forbid Jews and black people from participating in the Games, though this hateful ploy failed as other nations threatened to boycott. In fact despite this attempt to showcase the superiority of the Aryan race, the great American sprinter Jesse Owens won four gold medals that year. (According to displays at the site a fan wrote to Owens urging him not to accept the metal but the letter was intercepted by the Gestapo.) – READ MORE