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Hitler's Olympics: The Story of the 1936 Nazi Games [Paperback]

Anton Rippon
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

17 May 2012
For two weeks in August 1936, Nazi Germany achieved an astonishing propaganda coup when it staged the Olympic Games in Berlin. Hiding their anti-Semitism and plans for territorial expansion, the Nazis exploited the Olympic ideal, dazzling visiting spectators and journalists alike with an image of a tolerant country. Thousands of foreigners went away wondering why the Hitler regime had been vilified, unaware that not far from the stunning Olympic Stadium lay a concentration camp full of 'enemies of the state'. In Hitler's Olympics, Anton Rippon tells the story of those remarkable Games, the first to overtly use the Olympic festival for political purposes. His account looks at how the rise of the Nazis affected German sportsmen and women in the early 1930s. And it reveals how the rest of the world allowed the Berlin Olympics to go ahead despite the knowledge that Nazi Germany was a police state.The Nazis threw all their resources into staging the most remarkable Olympics seen so far. Hitler was closely involved in the grandiose planning of an event that was designed to glorify the new Nazi state, and this book describes the process in fascinating detail. The political drama of the event is matched by the intense competition of the athletes on the field and track. Here the two sides of the story come together, most famously in the person of Jessie Owens, the black quadruple gold medal winner.Hitler's Olympics is featured on the Sports Journalists' Association website:www.sportsjournalists.co.uk/olympics/should-we-send-a-jew-to-cover-the-berlin-olympics/

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Hitler's Olympics: The Story of the 1936 Nazi Games + Berlin Games: How Hitler Stole the Olympic Dream
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Product details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Military (17 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848848684
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848848689
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 17.2 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 903,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anton Rippon was born in Derby during the Second World War and grew up there.
He has spent almost all his working life in the newspaper and publishing industry, including 10 years with the Derby Evening Telegraph and a spell with the Nottingham Evening Post.
He is the author of 30 books on sport and military history but also including an including an autobiographical memoir, A Derby Boy, which was published in 2007.
His work has appeared in a wide range of national newspapers and magazines and he has written radio documentaries for the BBC.
He currently contributes features on international sport to the US-based website Sports Business Research Network (www.sbrnet.com)
In 1982, he founded Breedon Books, the sports and history publisher that he sold in 2003 to resume writing full-time.
In 1993, the Derby County Former Professional Players' Association elected him an honorary member.
He is also a member of the Sports Journalists' Association, the International Sports Press Association (AIPS), the International Society of Olympic Historians and the Football Writers' Association.
His book, Gunter Plüschow: Airman, Escaper, Explorer, was published by Pen & Sword in November 2009.
A Derby View: The Best Of Anton Rippon, a collection of his weekly Derby Telegraph columns, was published by Wharncliffe in October 2010.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Much has been said about the 1936 Berlin Olympics with the most notable event being, of course, Hitler snubbing Jesse Owens by refusing to shake his hand after he had won one of his events. This led to many charges of racism (Hitler - a racist? Surely not!) and yet it never happened. As is very clearly recounted in this first-class work, that snub will forever remain the Great Myth of the Berlin Olympics.

In effect, Hitler, his entourage and fellow VIPs were in a raised enclosure similar to a Royal Box. When a German athlete won gold and was presented with his medal, that athlete turned towards Hitler and gave the Nazi Salute - which Hitler duly returned. Later, when Owens received his medal he turned and bowed towards that same VIP enclosure and Hitler returned the gesture with another straight-armed salute before turning and leaving the box.

That, however, is only one story from an Olympic Games from another era altogether. 1936 was a time when there were few, if any, coloured people representing European teams, starting blocks were not permitted, the swimming pool was outside and Europeans won the Gymnastic events. In short, this was a different time in the life of Europe people - almost on the very eve of a war which would change the make-up of that Continent's populations forever.

The story of the 1936 Olympics is an engaging, fascinating tale of the many successes and failures told with fear or favour towards those who were involved.

My only criticism of this extremely well-researched work concerns film-maker Leni Riefenstahl who, although mentioned in passing on four occasions, does not receive the acclaim I feel she deserves. In short, the author fails to mention her significant contribution to the Games on two fronts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1936 olympics 10 Aug 2012
The 1936 Olympics in Berlin was dominated by Nazi politics that attempted to show Germany in a goog light to the detriment of sport.
The book is the story of the history of the 1936 games as much as the games themselves.There were battles to stop the games and extreme measures taken to ensure they succeded leading to a picture of a peaceful and gentle Germany even though a massive concentration camp existed a few miles from the games site.
Well written and researched with good pictures but with the cautionary tale as to how the world was decieved.
A first class book.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars All that Glitters isn't Gold 30 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The XI Olympics of 1936 held in winter at Parmisch-Partenkirchen and in the summer at Berlin was so memorable that volumes on those events outstrip any other Games of the modern era. When a new book appears it is virtually the sign that more are in the pipeline discussing the myths and realties -did Hitler shake hands with the legendary Jesse Owens?, why did the part German Jewess Helene Meyer silver medallist in the women's foil choose to give the Nazi salute, and did the German communist wrestler, Werner Seelenbinder, choose to lose his event to forego meeting Hitler? -, and the political implications.

Anton Rippon's current contribution is a reprint by Pen & Sword of his 2006 publication. Its primary strength is it is a photographic presentation composed of the author's private collection. It is strange, however, that the marketing department had not picked up this unique promotional feature, unless it realized that his collection did not cover all the copyright conditions, and might create too many legal headaches.

With the benefit of time the author has managed to accumulate material on what happened to a handful of the protagonists, to become the book's second strength. Certain Dutch Jews, for instance, perished in Auschwitz and Sobibor; one Dutch sprinter of the 4 x 100m relay team, Martinus Osendarp, joined the SS in wartime and was subsequently imprisoned after 1945; one South African boxer, Robey Leibbrandt, was so impressed by the German organization, became a fanatic, and took part in sabotage activities in his homeland, whereas the German gold medallist in the modern pentathlon, Lt Gotthard Handrick, became a Luftwaffe ace in the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hitler's Olympics is the only book the general reader will need on the Nazi Games 27 Mar 2013
By C. M Mills - Published on Amazon.com
Hitler's Olympics is the story of the 1936 Olympics Games held in Germany. The winter games occurred in the tiny village of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the winter of 1936. The games were very successful attracting over 800,000 atendees at the event held twenty plus miles from Munich. The famous Norwegian skater Sonja Henie participated and won gold. The XI Summer Games of the modern era were conducted for two weeks in Hitler's Berlin in August, 1936. The American track and field star Jessie Owens won four gold medals. The German team, however, was the winner in overall medals won.
During the Olympic events the Nazis halted obvious signs of their odious persecution of the Jews. Hitler prohibited Jewish stars from participating in the games. The event was filmed by Leni Riefensthal and won many international awards for filming excellence. Nazi persecution of the Jews was somewhat curtailed during the two weeks of the games. Germany received favorable press attention. Hitler, though decidedly not interested in sports, enjoyed German victories but was irked when African-Americans beat the best athletes in the Reich.
Anton Rippon, a British historian of sport, has produced a fine book with many pictures of the Olympics. It is a fascinating look into one of the most important events of the 1930s. Well done!
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