Lessons 1 and 2: Nazi Racial Propaganda during the 1936 Berlin OlympicsThis is a featured page

After learning about how Hitler came to power, students must consider the implications of anti-semitism in the way Nazi Germany was ruled and how it contributed to Hitler's appeal among the Germans as well as other European states, even the segments of the British and French society were in agreement with Hitler's policy.

Time Frame: 2 Hours (1 Hour per lesson)

Lesson Objectives:
Students must be able to

1) explain how Hitler made use of Anti-semitism to obtain the popularity and support of Germans

2) describe the propaganda techniques used during the Olympics to jusitfy his racial theories.

3) draw parallels between the anti-Semitic policies of Hitler with those practised by other Western European nations or the United States.

Lesson 1: (1 Hour)

Instructions for Students

Questions for Students to answer. Students must read through the questions and do research via the internet search engines to help find answers to these questions. You may start with the references given below.

1) Please type out your answers on a MS Word Document.
2) Include your name, class and index number on the top of the document.
3) submit your work to your respective History teacher's IVLE workbin. A folder has been created for you to upload our work for submission.





Racism and Discrimination

a) What kinds of changes did the Nazi government implement between 1933 and 1936 that specifically reflected a state endorsement of racism and discrimination?

b) How did totalitarianism, antisemitism, and racism affect sports in Germany in the 1930s?

c) How were American attitudes toward participation in the 1936 Olympics affected by awareness of Nazi antisemitism and racial discrimination?

d) Why did some U.S. athletes boycott and others choose to participate in the Games?

e) What are “Jim Crow” laws? Is there evidence that racism, antisemitism, and discriminatory practices in the United States affected American opinions about (and responses to) U.S. participation in the 1936 Olympics?


a) What evidence is there that the German government used the 1936 Olympic Games as a propaganda vehicle to garner domestic support and international acceptance?

b) Did the effort succeed? Specifically, what means did the Germans use to deceive the world during the Olympics? What were they hiding?

c) How did the Nazis link the Olympics to their theory of a “master race?”

d) What symbols and characterizations did the Nazis use in propaganda, posters, and
cartoons to express this connection?

Source Based Question Worksheet ( Do on a Fresh Page)

Source A
A Political Cartoon commenting on a commonly held view of the positive impact of the Olympics on Nation-States

Political Cartoon on Berlin Olympics

Source B
An account fo the Nazi Olympics from an American Journalist who covered the Berlin Olympics in 1936
“I'm afraid the Nazis have succeeded with their propaganda. First, the Nazis have run the Games on a lavish scale never before experienced, and this has appealed to the athletes. Second, the Nazis have put up a very good front for the general visitors, especially the big businessmen.” —Foreign correspondent William Shirer in his diary, Berlin, August 16, 1936

Source C
An account of the Berlin Olympics from an American visitor, Esther Wenzels in 1936
The main focus for visitors who came from all parts of the world was Unter Den Linden. This was the beautiful boulevard going through the center of the city all the way to the Bradenberg Gate. The tourists and visitors came to see and applaud the finest athletes in the world.At the same time, there were uniformed troops marching here and there in the streets. Often officers strolled into hotels or business places. Museums and public buildings would often remain closed so that the visitors could watch a parade of young boys and girls in uniform. This ominous undercurrent was sensed but ignored in all the festivities. It was a unique moment in history. No other Olympic Games, before, or since, ever took place under such circumstances.

Study Source A
a) What does the source tell you about the perception of the Western powers towards Nazi Germany in 1936? Explain your answer.

Study Source B
b) How reliable is Source B in explaining the motives of the Nazis? Explain your answer.

Lesson 2: (1 Hour)

Instructions Students must now follow the set of instructions and listen to each widget or watch each video in sequence.

Watch the following videos on how a female athlete who is a German Jew was discriminated against and the dilemmas face by Jews who participated in the Berlin Olympics in 1936. Answer the following questions about the videos.

The videos introduces several athletes and their eyewitness testimonies.

1) Search for specific examples of choices made by individual athletes in their attempts to resolve the dilemma of participation in the 1936 Olympic Games.

2) Describe in a new page attached to this weblink, a specific athlete’s role in the story of the 1936 Olympics. Topics to cover include whether or not an athlete participated in the Games, the sport represented by that athlete, and an explanation of the following: why that athlete chose to participate or not (if known and if there was a choice), what happened to that athlete before and during the Games, and what happened to that athlete following
the Games (if known).

3) Follow the Discussion Thread started on this lesson to in put your comments and understanding of Nazi anti-Semitism. This is not a response only exercise. Please deliberate among yourselves online what your friends have said and explain why you agree or disagree with them.

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