Berlin 1936: Sixteen Days in August

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Berlin 1936, a work of creative non-fiction, describes the six days of the 1936 Berlin Olympics in a succession of narrative vignettes and excerpts from dispatches. Hitler and Goering appear in scenes documenting how foreigners were “spoiled, indulged, flattered and fooled.” Contrary to declared Olympian ideals, Goebbels was infuriated at wins by Jesse Owens and the few Jewish athletes allowed to participate. Snippets from history, night life, publishing, and Nazi racial politics show the reality of Nazi Germany. William Dodd, American ambassador to Berlin, saw the true nature of the threat. Leni Riefenstahl, documentary producer, whose “head was crowned by a halo of importance,” and Richard Strauss, composer of the specially commissioned “Olympic Hymn,” provided enthusiastic artistic support. The awakening of novelist Thomas Wolfe is fascinating. Wolfe, who initially felt “love at first sight” for Nazi Germany, started to critique the regime and was warned of its dangers by Mildred Harnack, author and activist, who met a terrible fate described in the last chapter. Wolfe wrote about his “final reckoning with the Nazi regime,” terrifying his German publishing associates. The short-term propaganda effort succeeded, demonstrated by a poignant excerpt from a personal ad: “Olympics spectator from Denmark…seeks to marry a…cosmopolitan man who lives in Berlin.”

Reviewed By:

Author Oliver Hilmes • Jefferson Chase, Translator
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 320 pages
Publisher Other Press
Publish Date 2018-Feb-06
ISBN 9781590519295 Buy this Book
Issue October 2018
Category History


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