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The 1936 Olympic Games played a key role in the development of both Hitler’s Third Reich and international sporting competition. This volume gathers original essays by modern scholars from the Games’ most prominent participating countries and lays out the issues -- sporting as well as political -- surrounding individual nations’ involvement.

The Nazi Olympics opens with an analysis of Germany’s preparations for the Games and the attempts by the Nazi regime to allay the international concerns about Hitler’s racist ideals and expansionist ambitions.

Essays follow on the United States, Great Britain, and France -- three first-class Olympian nations with misgivings about participation -- as well as German ally Italy and future ally Japan. Other essays examine the issues at stake in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands, which opposed Hitler’s politics, despite embodying his Aryan ideal.

Challenging the view of sport as a trivial pursuit, this collection reveals exactly how high the political stakes were in 1936 and how the Nazi Olympics distilled many of the critical geopolitical issues of the time into a contest that was anything but trivial. 

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