In 1936, Adolf Hitler welcomed the world to Berlin to attend the Olympic Games. Visitors from all over the globe came to see not only a magnificent sporting event, but also a showcase for the newly rebuilt Germany. No effort was spared to present the Third Reich as the world's newest power. Swastikas fluttered next to the Olympic rings from the balconies of freshly painted buildings. Butter was hoarded weeks in advance in order to convince visitors that there were no shortages. There was even a pause in the implementation of anti-Semitic measures. But beneath the surface, the Games of the Eleventh Olympiad of the Modern Era came to act as a crucible for the dark political forces that were gathering to threaten the world.
The 1936 Olympics were nothing less than the most political sporting event of the last century. Far from being a mere meeting of sportsmen and-women, it was an epic clash between proponents of barbarism and those of civilization, both of whom tried to use the Games to promote their own values. Berlin Games is the complete history of those fateful two weeks in August that would foreshadow the bloody conflict soon to come. It is the story of the athletes, from their often humble beginnings to the glory of the Olympic Stadium. It is also an eye-opening tale of the Nazi machine that attempted to use the Games as a model of Aryan superiority and fascist efficiency. Furthermore, it is a devastating indictment of the manipulative figures--including politicians, diplomats, and Olympic officials--who vied for power and glory in different sorts of games whose results would have profound consequences for the world.
Drawing on original research and interviews with surviving participants from all over the world, Walters has produced a history filled with intrigue, sport, sex, and infamy. Berlin Games is a definitive and remarkable record of a time that still fascinates and haunts us to this day.
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