The Hitler games

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    A Reichssportführer? Check. Threats and rants? Check. Propagandistic filming of sports?

    Check. Politicking? Check. Televised games? Check. A narcissistic tyrant using an international event to promote his biases? Check. Torch relay? Check.

    Olympische Sommerspiele 1936: historic. “Within the context of the modern Olympic movement, the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin were especially innovative – perhaps the most innovative of all the festivals since 1896. Berlin ’36 introduced the now-traditional Olympic torch relay from ancient Olympia to the host city. The Berlin Games (along with the companion Winter Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen) were the first Olympics to receive large-scale organisational and financial support from a national government. The Berlin festival was the first to be broadcast worldwide by radio and (albeit only locally and quite primitively) by television. Berlin pioneered the release of doves on opening day…The ’36 Games featured a wide range of the now-standard ancillary hoopla, such as dress balls, banquets, art exhibitions, concerts and theatrical events. They encouraged a barrage of corporate advertising, national and international. They made safety for visitors and athletes a major priority, providing a security apparatus of unprecedented proportions. ” [The Nazi Olympics Berlin 1936, The Palgrave Handbook of Olympic Studies, pp. 60-71]

    Why were the Games of the XI Olympiad called the Nazi Olympics? “Hitler and the Nazi regime injected the government’s ‘Aryan’ ideal into every level of sport in Germany…Hitler believed the value of sport stemmed from its ability to create a physically strong ‘Aryan’ German state. Hitler disliked the idea of pure ‘Aryans’ competing with lesser races, and especially disliked the Olympics which he characterized as ‘a plot by freemasons and Jews.’ … Hitler’s 1936 Games were meant to showcase the success and dominance of the ‘Aryan’ race. Jews on the Olympic team ran counter to this goal.” [Glosniak, Quinn, “The 1936 Nazi Olympic Games: The First Truly Modern Olympiad” (2017). CMC Senior Theses. 1707. http://scholarship.claremont.edu/cmc_theses/1707 ]

    Why would sports be exempted from the struggle? It was not. Back in 1933, Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler himself set the tone: “Today I have granted my final approval for the commencement and completion of the structures on the stadium grounds. With this, Germany is being given a sports arena the likes of which are to be found nowhere in the world. The fact that the completion of the planned large-scale construction works is creating many thousands of man-days is something which fills me with particular joy.

    However, buildings alone are not sufficient to guarantee that German sports are accorded a position in the international competitions which corresponds to the world prestige of our nation. Much more significant is the unified, committed will of the nation to choose the best competitors out of all Germany’s Gaue and to train and steel them so that we may pass the forthcoming competition with honors. ”

    “A no less important task is the sustained and lasting attention to physical exercise in the entire German Volk as one of the most important cultural assets of the National Socialist State. We will make of this a permanent basis for the spirit of the New Germany in the physical strength of its Volk. The Reichssportführer is solely responsible to myself and the competent Reich Minister of the Interior for the successful accomplishment of these two tasks. I ask all organizations, official bodies, etc. to grant him every possible support and encouragement.” [Cody, Nathan W., “The Berlin Olympics: Sports, Anti-Semitism, and Propaganda in Nazi Germany” (2016). Student Publications. 434. https://cupola.gettysburg.edu/student_scholarship/434 ]

    Thus, the 1936 Berlin Olympics = The Hitler Games. Meanwhile, in Manila last 4 December 2019, the Museum Volunteers of the Philippines, in conducting its Philippine History Course, held its Module on the topic of “Guerrilla Resistance to the Japanese.” For which, this writer shared the following data from the records of the Southwest Pacific Area Command:

    (1) Sixth Military District. “The civil government under Tomas CONFESOR was effectively in operation throughout the island. This early good start gave the organization an impetus that has enabled the movement to withstand repeated thorough end ruthless Japanese terror raids since.”

    (2) Eighth Military District. “Organizationally, the union was a happy one, for despite antithetical personalities, the capabilities of each complemented the other. FENTON had a knack for administrative detail and a flare for propaganda. CUSHING displayed an ability for combat, was a fearless leader and knit the organization into a loyal and coordinated fighting unit. Both were inspired by profound hatred for the Japanese. The Cebu area long enjoyed the reputation for having killed more Japanese than any other area.”

    (3) Ninth Military District. “Col. KANGLEON’s guerrilla force included all Leyte guerrilla units at the time of the Allied landings October 1944, and numbered approximately 3,200, organized and known as the 92nd Division, PA. The Leyte Area Command forces established a well developed radio network and supplies were dispatched to this force regularly.”

    (4) Fourth Military District. “The Free Philippines attempted to become a clearing house for intelligence and acted as a liaison office. All are believed to have been members of the former Civil Liberties Union.”

    (5) Third Military District. The earliest and most comprehensive of the original commands was that of Col. Claude THORP, with headquarters in the Mount Pinatubo.

    (6) First Military District. After the surrender, Bataan escapees like Majors Moses & Noble as well as Captains R. Volckman & D. Blackburn of the 11th Div. managed to organize guerrilla units among the Igorots in Mt. Province.

    This writer hopes that such information would be of use to Dan J. Larsen and Desiree Benipayo, Module Co-coordinators, MVP History Course. Other matters of interest this week:

    Greenpeace released an open letter to President Duterte: Put climate urgency at the center of all policy decision-making from a local to national level. Hold fossil fuel companies accountable for their role in driving climate change and inflicting harm on the Filipino people. Demand other countries, particularly industrialized nations, to enhance their emissions reduction ambitions in order to meet the Paris Agreement’s aim to limit global temperature rise within 1.5 degrees Celsius. Ensure the Philippines’ rapid and just transition to a low-carbon pathway through a massive uptake of renewable energy solutions. [COP25: Greenpeace calls for climate justice as “Kammuri” threatens millions of Filipinos’ rights, security]

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