Ode to Peace or Prelude to Militarism?: The Opening Ceremonies of the 1936 Berlin Olympics as Political Theater
Smith, Samuel D.
When Nazi leadership ultimately embraced the notion of hosting the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, the decision entailed an undertaking to which an inherently militaristic society would seem ill-suited: orchestrating an opening ceremony, a celebration grounded in the principles of peace and harmony, that could withstand the scrutiny of a leery global audience. Through a dynamic approach that steeped the ceremony's routine proceedings in rich symbolic gestures, the Nazis' audition on the international stage generally succeeded in establishing an outwardly benign atmosphere. However, a thorough appraisal reveals that the regime could not bring itself to fully suppress its martial disposition, which consequentially colored a number of the day's events.