Troost and Speer – Hitler’s Architects

T R O O S T  A N D  S P E E R – A R C H I T E C T S   T O  T H E  F Ü H R E R


 
 
At the 1933 Nürnberg Reichsparteitag, the new Chancellor, Adolf Hitler proclaimed the dawn of an era of ‘New Art’ – and instituted the Reichskulturkammer (Reich Chamber of Culture) to oversee the cultural life of Das Dritte Reich, (the Third Reich).
The Reichskulturkammer was headed by Dr. Paul Joseph Göbbels.
The Reichskulturkammer was to control all aspects of culture, and this included the fine arts, applied arts,  industrial design, sculpture, architecture and film.

‘Germany wants again a “German Art,” and this art shall and will be of eternal value, as are all truly creative values of a people.
Should this art, however, again lack this eternal value for our people, then indeed it will mean that it also has no higher value today
When, therefore, the cornerstone of this building was laid, it was with the intention of constructing a temple, not for a so-called modern art, but for a true and everlasting German art, that is, better still, a House for the art of the German people.
It is therefore imperative for the artist to erect monuments, not so much to a period, but to his people.
For time is changeable, years come and go.
Anything born of and thriving on a certain epoch alone would perish with it.
And not only all which had been created before us would fall victim to this mortality, but also what is being created today or will be created in the future.
But the National-Socialists know of only one mortality, and that is the mortality of the people itself:
As long as a people exists, however, it is the fixed pole in the flight of fleeting appearances.
It is the quality of being and lasting permanence.
And, indeed, for this reason, art as an expression of the essence of this being, is an eternal monument.’
Adolf Hitler


T R O O S T  A N D  S P E E R – A R C H I T E C T S   T O  T H E  F Ü H R E R

Hitler appreciated the neo-classical  architects of the 19th century such as Gottfried Semper, who built the Dresden Opera House, the Picture Gallery in Dresden, the court museums in Vienna and Theophil Freiherr von Hansen, who designed several buildings in Athens in 1840. He also admired the neo-baroque the Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opera, and the neo-classical Law Courts of Brussels by the architect Poelaert.
Ultimately, he was always drawn back to inflated neo-baroque such as Kaiser Wilhelm II had fostered, through his court architect Ernst von Ihne.
Thus, in the realm of architecture, as in painting and sculpture, Hitler saw his ideal in the world of his youth: the world of 1880 to 1910, which stamped its imprint on his artistic taste as on his political and ideological conceptions.
The Führer did not have one particular style; there was no official architecture of the Reich, only the neoclassical baseline that was enlarged, multiplied, altered and exaggerated.
Hitler appreciated the permanent qualities of the classical style as it had a relationship between the Dorians and his own Germanic world.

P A U L   L U D W I G   T R O O S T

Paul Ludwig Troost (August 17, 1878 – March 21, 1934), born in Elberfeld, was a German architect.
An extremely tall, spare-looking, reserved Westphalian with a close-shaven head, Troost belonged to a school of architects, Peter Behrens and Walter Gropius who, even before 1914, reacted sharply against the highly ornamental Jugendstil and advocated a restrained, lean architectural approach, almost devoid of ornament.
Troost graduated from designing steamship décor before World War I, and the fittings for showy transatlantic liners like the Europa, to a style that combined Spartan traditionalism with elements of modernity.
Although, before 1933 he did not belong to the leading group of German architects, he became Hitler’s foremost architect whose neo-classical style became for a time the official architecture of the Third Reich.
In the autumn of 1933, he was commissioned to rebuild and refurnish the Chancellery residence in Berlin.
Along with other architects, Troost planned and built State and municipal edifices throughout the country, including new administrative offices, social buildings for workers and bridges across the main highways.

One of the many structures he planned before his death was the House of German Art in Munich, intended to be a great temple for a “true, eternal art of the German people”.
It was a good example of the classical forms in monumental public buildings during the Third Reich, though subsequently Hitler moved away from the more restrained style of Troost, reverting to the imperial grandeur that he had admired in the Vienna Ringstraße of his youth.
Hitler’s relationship to Troost was that of a pupil to an admired teacher.

According to Albert Speer, who later became Hitler’s favorite architect, the Führer would impatiently greet Troost with the words: “I can’t wait, Herr Professor. Is there anything new? Let’s see it!” Troost would then lay out his latest plans and sketches.
Hitler frequently declared, according to Speer, that “he first learned what architecture was from Troost”‘.
The architect’s death on March 21, 1934, after a severe illness, was a painful blow, but Hitler remained close to his widow Gerdy Troost, whose architectural taste frequently coincided with his own, which made her (in Speer’s words) “a kind of arbiter of art in Munich.”
Troost was buried in the “Nordfriedhof” Cemetery (North Cemetery) in Munich.
The gravestone (see above left) still survives although the family name has been removed.
Hitler posthumously awarded Troost the German National Prize for Art and Science in 1936.


FÜHRERBAU – KÖNIGSPLATZ  MÜNCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost

The Fuehrerbau, on the Königsplatz in Munich, was built from 1933 to 1937 by the architect Paul Ludwig Troost.
The first plans for the buildings date from the year 1931.
It was completed only three years after the death of Professor Troost by Leonhard Gall.
The building was used as the national administrative centre for the NSDAP.





GRAND STAIRCASE
FÜHRERBAU – KÖNIGSPLATZ  MÜNCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost





ADOLF HITLER’S STUDY
FÜHRERBAU – KÖNIGSPLATZ  MÜNCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost





MAIN CORRIDOR
FÜHRERBAU – KÖNIGSPLATZ  MÜNCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost




EHRENTEMPEL – KÖNIGSPLATZ  NCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost

The Ehrentempel (“honor temples”) were two structures in Munich, designed by Professor Paul  Ludwig Troost, and erected by the German Government in 1935, housing the sacrophagi of the sixteen members of the party who had been killed in the failed Beer hall putsch.
The Ehrentempel was made of limestone except for its roof which was made of steel and concrete with etched glass mosaics.
The pedestals of the temples were seventy feet wide.

The columns of the structures each extended twenty-three feet. The combined weight of the sacrophagi was over 2,900 pounds.
The following martyrs of the National Socialis German Workers Party were interred in the Ehrentempel:

Felix Alfarth, Andreas Bauriedl, Theodor Casella, William Ehrlich, Martin Faust,
Anton Hechenberger, Oskar Körner, Karl Kuhn, Karl Laforce, Kurt Neubauer,
Klaus von Pape,Theodor von der Pfordten, Johann Rickmers,Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter, Lorenz Ritter von Stransky, Wilhelm Wolf
Adolf Wagner (buried in the grass mound between steps in 1944)





EHRENTEMPEL – KÖNIGSPLATZ  NCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost







EHRENTEMPEL – KÖNIGSPLATZ  NCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost




EHRENTEMPEL – KÖNIGSPLATZ  NCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost





EHRENTEMPEL – KÖNIGSPLATZ  NCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost





EHRENTEMPEL – KÖNIGSPLATZ  NCHEN
(Tag Der Deutschen Kunst – Day of German Art)
Paul Ludwig Troost







EHRENTEMPEL AT DUSK – KÖNIGSPLATZ  NCHEN
Paul Ludwig Troost

DAS HAUS DER DEUTSCHEN KUNST
(The House of German Art)
Paul Ludwig Troost


DAS HAUS DER DEUTSCHEN KUNST
(The House of German Art)
Paul Ludwig Troost





DAS HAUS DER DEUTSCHEN KUNST
(The House of German Art)
Paul Ludwig Troost


DAS HAUS DER DEUTSCHEN KUNST
Paul Ludwig Troost




DAS HAUS DER DEUTSCHEN KUNST
Paul Ludwig Troost



DAS HAUS DER DEUTSCHEN KUNST
Paul Ludwig Troost






A L B E R T   S P E E R




Albert Speer, born Berthold Konrad Hermann Albert Speer, (March 19, 1905 – September 1, 1981) was a German architect.
Speer was Adolf Hitler’s chief architect before assuming ministerial office. 
Speer joined the Nazi Party in 1931, launching him on a political and governmental career which lasted fourteen years. His architectural skills made him increasingly prominent within the Party and he became a member of Hitler’s inner circle.
Hitler commissioned him to design and construct a number of structures, including the Reich Chancellery and the Zeppelinfeld stadium in Nuremberg where Party rallies were held. Speer also made plans to reconstruct Berlin on a grand scale, with huge buildings, wide boulevards, and a reorganized transportation system.
Speer was born in Mannheim, into a wealthy middle class family.
Speer was active in sports, taking up skiing and mountaineering.
Speer followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and studied architecture.
Speer began his architectural studies at the University of Karlsruhe.
In 1924 he transferred to the Technical University of Munich.
In 1925 he transferred again, this time to the Technical University of Berlin where he studied under Heinrich Tessenow, whom Speer greatly admired.
After passing his exams in 1927, Speer became Tessenow’s assistant, a high honor for a man of 22.
As such, Speer taught some of Tessenow’s classes while continuing his own postgraduate studies.
In Munich, and continuing in Berlin, Speer began a close friendship, ultimately spanning over 50 years, with Rudolf Wolters, who also studied under Tessenow.
In mid-1922, Speer began courting Margarete (Margret) Weber (1905–1987).
The two married in Berlin on August 28, 1928.
In 1931, Speer surrendered his position as Tessenow’s assistant, hoping to use his father’s connections to get commissions.
In July 1932, the Speers visited Berlin to help out the Party prior to the Reichstag elections. While they were there, Hanke recommended the young architect to Goebbels to help renovate the Party’s Berlin headquarters.

Speer, who had been about to leave with his wife for a vacation in East Prussia, agreed to do the work.
When the commission was completed, Speer returned to Mannheim and remained there as Hitler took office in January 1933.
After the Nazis took control, Hanke recalled Speer to Berlin. Goebbels, the new Propaganda Minister, commissioned Speer to renovate his Ministry’s building on Wilhelmplatz.
Speer also designed the 1933 May Day commemoration in Berlin.
Speer’s next major assignment was as liaison to the Berlin building trades for Paul Troost’s renovation of the Chancellery.
As Chancellor, Hitler had a residence in the building and came by every day to be briefed by Speer and the building supervisor on the progress of the renovations.
After one of these briefings, Hitler invited Speer to lunch.

Hitler evinced considerable interest in Speer during the luncheon, and later told Speer that he had been looking for a young architect capable of carrying out his architectural dreams for the new Germany.
Speer quickly became part of Hitler’s inner circle..
The two men found much in common: Hitler spoke of Speer as a “kindred spirit” for whom he had always maintained “the warmest human feelings”.
The young, ambitious architect was dazzled by his rapid rise and close proximity to Hitler, which guaranteed him a flood of commissions from the government and from the highest ranks of the Party.

When Troost died on January 21, 1934, Speer effectively replaced him as the Party’s chief architect. Hitler appointed Speer as head of the Chief Office for Construction, which placed him nominally on Hess’s staff.[34]
One of Speer’s first commissions after Troost’s death was the Zeppelinfeld stadium—the Nürnberg parade grounds seen in Leni Riefenstahl’s propaganda masterpiece Triumph of the Will. This huge work was capable of holding 340,000 people.
The tribune was influenced by the Pergamon Altar in Anatolia, but was magnified to an enormous scale.
Speer surrounded the site with 130 anti-aircraft searchlights. This created the effect of a “cathedral of light” or, as it was called by British Ambassador Sir Neville Henderson, a “cathedral of ice”.
Nürnberg was to be the site of many more official Nazi buildings, most of which were never built; for example, the German Stadium would have accommodated 400,000 spectators, while an even larger rally ground would have held half a million Nazis.
While planning these structures, Speer invented the concept of “ruin value”: that major buildings should be constructed in such a way that they would leave aesthetically pleasing ruins for thousands of years into the future.
Such ruins would be a testament to the greatness of the Third Reich, just as ancient Greek or Roman ruins were symbols of the greatness of those civilizations.
Hitler enthusiastically embraced this concept, and ordered that all the Reich’s important buildings be constructed in accord with it.
In 1937, Hitler appointed Speer as General Building Inspector for the Reich Capital with the rank of undersecretary of state in the Reich government.
The position carried with it extraordinary powers over the Berlin city government and made Speer answerable to Hitler alone.

Hitler ordered Speer to make plans to rebuild Berlin.
The plans centered on a three-mile long grand boulevard running from north to south, which Speer called the Prachtstrasse, or Street of Magnificence; he also referred to it as the “North-South Axis”.
At the north end of the boulevard, Speer planned to build the Volkshalle, a huge assembly hall with a dome which would have been over 700 feet (210 m) high, with floor space for 180,000 people.
At the southern end of the avenue would be a huge triumphal arch; it would be almost 400 feet (120 m) high, and able to fit the Arc de Triomphe inside its opening.
The outbreak of World War II in 1939 led to the postponement, and eventual abandonment, of these plans.
In January 1938, Hitler asked Speer to build a new Reich Chancellery on the same site as the existing structure, and said he needed it for urgent foreign policy reasons no later than his next New Year’s reception for diplomats on January 10, 1939.



This was a huge undertaking, especially since the existing Chancellery was in full operation. Although the site could not be cleared until April, Speer was successful in building the large, impressive structure in nine months.
The structure included the “Marble Gallery”: at 146 metres long, almost twice as long as the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles.
Speer employed thousands of workers in two shifts. Hitler, who had remained away from the project, was overwhelmed when Speer turned it over, fully furnished, two days early.
In appreciation for the architect’s work on the Chancellery, Hitler awarded Speer the Nazi Golden Party Badge.

Albert Speer, Adolf Hitler & Arno Breker – Paris – June 1940




REICH ADLER
Albert Speer
NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
Albert Speer





NEUE REICHSKANZEI – MARMORGALERIE – BERLIN
Albert Speer


In late January 1938, Adolf Hitler officially assigned his favourite architect Albert Speer to build the New Reich Chancellery around the corner on Voßstraße, a branch-off of Wilhelmstraße, requesting that the building be completed within a year.
Hitler commented that Bismarck’s Old Chancellery was “fit for a soap company” but not suitable as headquarters of a Greater German Reich. It nevertheless remained his official residence with its recently refurbished representation rooms on the groundfloor and private rooms on the upper floor where Hitler lived in the so called Führerwohnung (“Führer apartment”).
Hitler placed the entire northern side of the Voßstraße at Speer’s disposal assigning him the work of creating grand halls and salons which “will make an impression on people”.
Speer was given a blank cheque — Hitler stated that the cost of the project was immaterial — and was instructed that the building be of solid construction and that it be finished by the following January in time for the next New Year diplomatic reception to be held in the new building.
Over 4,000 workers toiled in shifts, so the work could be accomplished round-the-clock.
In the end it cost over 90 Million Reichsmark, well over one billion dollars today.
In his memoirs, Speer described the impression of the Reichskanzlei on a visitor:
The series of rooms comprising the approach to Hitler’s reception gallery were decorated with a rich variety of materials and colours and totalled 220 m (725 ft) in length.
The gallery itself was 145 m (480 ft) long. Hitler’s own office was 400 square meters in size.
From the exterior, the chancellery had a stern, authoritarian appearance.
From the Wilhelmplatz, visitors would enter the Chancellery through the Court of Honour (Ehrenhof). The building’s main entrance was flanked by two bronze statues by sculptor Arno Breker: “Wehrmacht” and “Partei” (“Armed Forces” and “Party”).
Hitler is said to have been greatly impressed by the building and was uncharacteristically effusive with his praise for Speer, lauding the architect as a “genius”.
The chancellor’s immense study was a particular favourite of the dictator.
The large marble-topped table served as an important part of the Nazi leader’s military headquarters, the study being used for military conferences from 1944 on. On the other hand, the Cabinet room was never used for its intended purpose.




NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Reception Hall)
Albert Speer






NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Hitler’s Study)
Albert Speer





NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Hitler’s Study)
Albert Speer





NEUE REICHSKANZEI – DOORWAY – BERLIN
Albert Speer







NEUE REICHSKANZEI – MOSAIC HALL – BERLIN
Albert Speer






NEUE REICHSKANZEI – MOSAIC HALL – BERLIN
Albert Speer



NEUE REICHSKANZEI – MOSAIC HALL – BERLIN
Albert Speer






NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
Marquetry Panel 
Albert Speer




NEUE REICHSKANZEI – ARCHITECTURAL DRAWING – DOORWAY – BERLIN
Albert Speer







NEUE REICHSKANZEI – MOSAIC HALL – BERLIN
Albert Speer




NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Entrance to Ante Room)
Albert Speer






NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Entrance to Mosaic Hall)
Albert Speer




NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
Albert Speer




NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
Albert Speer




NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Entrance to Hitler’s Study)
Albert Speer



NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Hitler’s Study)
Albert Speer

NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Hitler’s Study)
Albert Speer



NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Hitler’s Study)
Albert Speer


NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Hitler’s Study)
Albert Speer

NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Cabinet Room)
Albert Speer




NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Dining Room)
Albert Speer





NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Dining Room)
Albert Speer


NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Dining Room)
Albert Speer

NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Reception Room)
Albert Speer

NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Adolf Hitler’s Private Apartment)
Albert Speer


NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN

(Main Entrance)

Albert Speer
NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Main Entrance)
Albert Speer






NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
(Main Entrance)
Albert Speer



MAIN FAÇADE – NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
Albert Speer



MAIN FAÇADE – NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
Albert Speer


MAIN FAÇADE – NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
Albert Speer



The Reception Hall in the Reich’s Chancellery Garden
Albert Speer




GARDEN FAÇADE – NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
Albert Speer


GARDEN FAÇADE – NEUE REICHSKANZEI – BERLIN
Albert Speer

SS-‘Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler’ Barracks
Albert Speer


G E R M A N I A




GERMANIA
Albert Speer


Welthauptstadt Germania (“World Capital Germania”) refers to the projected renewal of the German capital Berlin during the Nazi period, part of Adolf Hitler’s vision for the future of Germany after the planned victory in World War II.
Albert Speer, the “first architect of the Third Reich”, produced many of the plans for the rebuilt city in his capacity as overseer of the project, only a small portion of which was realized between the years 1937-1943 when construction took place.
Some projects, such as the creation of a great East-West city axis, which included broadening Charlottenburger Chaussee (today Straße des 17. Juni) and placing the Berlin victory column in the center, far away from the Reichstag, where it originally stood, succeeded.
Others, however, such as the creation of the Große Halle (Great Hall), had to be shelved owing to the beginning of war.
A great number of the old buildings in many of the planned construction areas were however demolished before the war and eventually defeat stopped the plans.
The combined name “Welthauptstadt Germania” for the project was coined by Albert Speer in his 1969 memoirs Inside the Third Reich. 





MODELL DER NEUGESTALTUNG – GERMANIA
Albert Speer


According to the records of Hitler’s Table Talk of 8 June 1942 Hitler toyed with the idea of renaming the renewed Berlin into ‘Germania’, in order to give a Greater Germanic world empire a clear central point:
The term Welthauptstadt (World Capital) was already used by Hitler three months prior on the night between the 11th and 12th of March 1942 in the Wolf’s Lair:
“Berlin as the World Capital will only be comparable with Ancient Egypt, Babylon, and Rome! What are London and Paris compared to that!”
—Werner Jochmann: Adolf Hitler. Monologe im Führerhauptquartier 1941–1944, p. 318. Munich, 1980.
The title ‘Welthauptstadt’ was chosen because it was felt that Berlin’s architecture was at that time too provincial and that there was need to put Berlin on a par with and exceed the quality of other world capitals such as London, Paris and especially Rome.



MODELL DER NEUGESTALTUNG – GERMANIA
Albert Speer



 GROßE HALLE – GERMANIA
Albert Speer


The sketch of the Volkshalle given by Hitler to Speer shows a traditional gabled pronaos supported by ten columns, a shallow rectangular intermediate block and behind it the domed main building.
However, there was little about Speer’s elaboration of the sketch that might be termed Doric, except perhaps for the triglyphs in the entablature, supported by the geminated red granite columns with their Egyptian palm-leaf capitals, previously employed by Speer in the portico outside Hitler’s study on the garden side of the new Chancellery (see above).




 GROßE HALLE – GERMANIA
Albert Speer


Speer’s Große Halle was to be the capital’s most important and impressive building in terms of its size and symbolism. Visually it was to have been the architectural centrepiece of Berlin as the world capital (Welthauptstadt).
Its dimensions were so large that it would have dwarfed every other structure in Berlin, including those on the north-south axis itself.
The oculus of the building’s dome, 46 metres (151 ft) in diameter, would have accommodated the entire rotunda of Hadrian’s Pantheon and the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.
The dome of the Volkshalle was to rise from a massive granite podium 315 by 315 metres (1,033 × 1,033 ft) and 74 metres (243 ft) high, to a total inclusive height of 290 metres (950 ft). 
The resemblance of the Volkshalle to the Pantheon is far more obvious when their interiors are compared.
The large niche (50 metres high by 28 metres wide) at the north end of the Volkshalle was to be surfaced with gold mosaic and to enclose an eagle 24 metres (79 ft) high, beneath which was situated Hitler’s tribunal.
From here he would address 180,000 listeners, some standing in the central round arena, others seated in three concentric tiers of seats crowned by one hundred marble pillars, 24 metres (79 ft) high, which rose to meet the base of the coffered ceiling suspended from steel girders sheathed on the exterior with copper.
The three concentric tiers of seats enclosing a circular arena 140 metres (460 ft) in diameter owe nothing to the Pantheon but resemble the seating arrangements in Ludwig Ruff’s Congress Hall at Nuremberg, which was modeled on the Colosseum.
Other features of the Volkshalle’s interior are clearly indebted to Hadrian’s Pantheon: the coffered dome, the pillared zone, which here is continuous, except where it flanks the huge niche on the north side.
The second zone in the Pantheon, consisting of blind windows with intervening pilasters, is represented in Speer’s building by a zone above the pillars consisting of uniform, oblong shallow recesses.
The coffered dome rests on this zone. 
Hitler’s aspirations to world domination and the establishment of his New Order, already evident from architectural and decorative features of the new Chancellery, are even more clearly expressed here.
External symbols suggest that the domed hall was where Hitler as cosmocrator (Herr der Welt) would appear before his Herrenvolk: On top of the dome’s lantern was an eagle grasping in its claws not the usual swastika but the globe of the Earth (Erdball).
This combination of eagle and ball was well known in imperial Roman iconography, for example, the restored statue of Claudius holding a ball and eagle in his right hand.
The vast dome, on which it rested, as with Hadrian’s Pantheon, symbolically represented the vault of the sky spanning Hitler’s world empire.
The globe on the dome’s lantern was enhanced and emphasized by two monumental sculptures by Breker, each 15 metres high, which flanked the north façade of the building: at its west end Atlas supporting the heavens, at its east end Tellus supporting the Earth.
Both mythological figures were according to Speer, chosen by Hitler himself.




GROßE HALLE – GERMANIA
Albert Speer






Große Halle
Albert Speer



ZEPPLINFELD
Albert Speer






ZEPPLINFELD
Albert Speer








ZEPPLINFELD
Albert Speer







ZEPPLINFELD STADIUM
Albert Speer






ZEPPLINFELD STADIUM
Albert Speer







GERMAN PAVILLION – 1937 – PARIS
Albert Speer




GERMAN PAVILLION – 1937 – PARIS
Albert Speer

_____________________________________

Adolf Hitler – The Rise to Power

   

ADOLF HITLER – DER AUFSTIEG ZUR MACHT

(Adolf Hitler – the Rise to Power)

DIE WEIMARER REPUBLIK
(THE WEIMAR REPUBLIC)

Adolf Hitler’s rise to power began in Germany (at least formally) in September 1919 when Hitler joined the political party that was known as the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (abbreviated as DAP, and later commonly referred to as the Nazi Party).

This political party was formed and developed during the post-World War I era. It was anti-Marxist and was opposed to the democratic post-war government of the Weimar Republic and the Treaty of Versailles; and it advocated extreme nationalism and Pan-Germanism as well as virulent anti-Semitism.

Hitler’s “rise” can be considered to have ended in March 1933, after the Reichstag (see right) adopted the Enabling Act of 1933 in that month; President Paul von Hindenburg (see left) had already appointed Hitler as Chancellor on January 30, 1933 after a series of parliamentary elections and associated backstairs intrigues.

The Enabling Act — when used ruthlessly and with authority — virtually assured that Hitler could thereafter constitutionally exercise dictatorial power without legal objection.
Hitler rose to a place of prominence in the early years of the party.
Being one of the best speakers of the party, he told the other members of the party to either make him leader of the party, or, he would never return.

He was aided in part by his willingness to use violence in advancing his political objectives and to recruit party members who were willing to do the same.
The Beer Hall putsch in 1923 and the later release of his book ‘Mein Kampf’ (usually translated as ‘My Struggle’) introduced Hitler to a wider audience. In the mid-1920s, the party engaged in electoral battles in which Hitler participated as a speaker and organizer, as well as in street battles and violence between the Rotfrontkämpferbund (see right) and the Nazi’s Sturmabteilung (SA). Through the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Nazis gathered enough electoral support to become the largest political party in the Reichstag, and Hitler’s blend of political acuity, deceptiveness and cunning converted the party’s non-majority but plurality status into effective governing power in the ailing Weimar Republic of 1933.
Once in power, the Nazis created a mythology surrounding the rise to power, and they described the period that roughly corresponds to the scope of this article as either the Kampfzeit (the time of struggle) or the Kampfjahre (years of struggle).

The Beginning (1918-1924)

From Armistice (November 1918) to party membership (September 1919)


For over four years (August 1914 – November 1918), the Deutsches Kaiserreich (Germany) was a principal belligerent in World War I, on the Western Front (see right).

German: Deutsches Kaiserreich (The German Empire)  is the common name given to the state officially named the Deutsches Reich (literally: “German Realm”, designating Germany from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.

Wilhelm II (27 January 1859 – 4 June 1941) was the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia, ruling the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia from 15 June 1888 to 9 November 1918. He was a grandson of the British Queen Victoria and related to many monarchs and princes of Europe. His “New Course” in foreign affairs that culminated in his support for Austria-Hungary in the crisis of July 1914 that led to World War I. An ineffective war leader, he lost the support of the army, abdicated in November 1918, and fled to exile in the Netherlands.

Soon after the fighting on the front ended in November 1918, Hitler returned to Munich (see right) after the Armistice with no job, no real civilian job skills and no friends.

He remained in the Reichswehr and was given a relatively meaningless assignment during the winter of 1918-1919, but was eventually recruited by the Army’s Political Department (Press and News Bureau), possibly because of his assistance to the Army in investigating the responsibility for the ill-fated Bayerische Räterepublik (Bavarian Soviet Republic).

The Jewish led Bavarian Soviet Republic, also known as the Munich Soviet Republic (German: Bayerische Räterepublik or Münchner Räterepublik) was, as part of the German Revolution of 1918–1919, the short-lived attempt to establish a socialist state in the form of a democratic workers’ council republic in the Free State of Bavaria.
It sought independence from the also recently proclaimed Weimar Republic. Its capital was Munich.

Apparently his skills in oratory, as well as his extreme nationalism, caught the eye of an approving army officer and he was promoted to an “education officer” — which gave him an opportunity to speak in public.
One of his duties was to report on “subversive” political groups, as ordered by his superiors. Any group which contained the word “Workers” in its name was certainly suspicious to the Political Department, and his commanders assigned Hitler, in his role as investigator, to attend a meeting of the small Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (German Workers’ Party, abbreviated DAP) on 12 September 1919.

The German Workers’ Party (German: Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, abbreviated DAP) was the short-lived predecessor of the Nazi Party (German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, abbreviated NSDAP).

The DAP was founded in Munich in the hotel “Fürstenfelder Hof” on January 5, 1919 by Anton Drexler (see right), a member of the occultist Thule Society (see left).
It developed out of the “Freien Arbeiterausschuss für einen guten Frieden” (Free Workers’ Committee for a good Peace) which Drexler had also founded and led. Its first members were mostly colleagues of Drexler’s from the Munich rail depot. Drexler was encouraged to found the DAP by his mentor, Dr. Paul Tafel, a leader of the Alldeutscher Verband (Pan-Germanist Union), a director of the Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg, also a member of the Thule Society, and his wish was for a party which was both in touch with the masses and nationalist, unlike the middle class parties.

The initial membership was about forty people.
On March 24, 1919, Karl Harrer (a sports journalist and member of the Thule Society) joined the DAP to increase the influence of the Thule Society over the DAP’s activities, and the party name was changed to the “Political Workers’ Circle”.


During the 12 September meeting, Hitler took umbrage with comments made by an audience member that were directed against Gottfried Feder (see right), the speaker, an economist with whom Hitler was acquainted as a result of a lecture Feder delivered in an Army “education” course.
The audience member asserted that Bavaria should be wholly independent from Germany and should secede from Germany and unite with Austria to form a new South German nation.
The volatile Hitler arose and castigated the audience member, employing his oratorical skills and eventually causing theman to leave the meeting before its adjournment.
This bold (and typical) action by Hitler deeply impressed DAP founder Anton Drexler, who promptly handed Hitler a political pamphlet.
Soon, Drexler or his designate sent Hitler a postcard that invited him to join the party and to attend a “committee” meeting.
Hitler attended this meeting, held at the Alte Rosenbad beer-house, and initially concluded that the party was too muddled and disorganized to merit further attention: It had neither membership numbers nor membership cards, and had a treasury of about seven Reichsmarks, however, on further reflection Hitler realized that because the party was neither well established nor particularly organized, he could exercise a greater influence on its direction.
After two days in thought, Hitler decided to join the DAP; he was the party’s fifty-fifth member.

The First Two Years: Party Membership to the Hofbrauhaus Melee (November 1921)

By early 1920 the DAP had swelled to over 101 members, and Hitler received his membership card as member number 555 (the group started the counting at number 500).
Hitler’s considerable talents were appreciated by the party leadership and in early 1920’s he was named as its head of propaganda.
Hitler’s actions began to transform the party.

On 20 February, the party added National Socialist (Nationalsozialistische) to its name and became the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) (see left).
Four days later Drexler, Feder and Hitler announced the party’s 25-point program (see National Socialist Program).

In August Hitler also organized a group of “security men” under the guise of a party “Gymnastics and Sports Division.”
The group was named at first the Ordnertruppen and it may well be that their principal intended purpose was, in fact, to keep order at Nazi meetings and to only suppress those who disrupted the Nazi meetings.
In early October the group’s name was officially changed to the Sturmabteilung (Storm Detachment) (see right), which was certainly more descriptive and suggested the possibility of offensive, as well as solely defensive, action.

Throughout 1920, Hitler began to lecture at Munich’s beer halls, particularly the Hofbräuhaus (see left and right), Sterneckerbräu and Bürgerbräukeller.
By this time, the police were already monitoring the speeches, and their own surviving records reveal that Hitler delivered lectures with titles such as Political Phenomenon, Jews and the Treaty of Versailles.
At the end of the year, party membership was recorded at 2,000.
On 11 July 1921, Hitler resigned from the party after Drexler, the party’s nominal leader, proposed merging the party into a larger Kampfbund coalition.

The Kampfbund was a league of patriotic fighting societies and the German National Socialist party in Bavaria, Germany, in the 1920s. It included Hitler’s NSDAP party and their Sturmabteilung or SA for short, the Oberland League and the Reichskriegsflagge. Its military leader was Hermann Kriebel (see right), and its political leader was Adolf Hitler. It was Captain Ernst Röhm (see left) who proposed that Hitler be the political leader of the Kampfbund.
The Kampfbund conducted the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923 in Munich, Germany.
Kampfbund is German for “Battle League”. The league was created on 30 September 1923 at Nuremberg.


Hitler rejoined once the policy was abandoned, and on 28 July assumed control of the party by outcasting Drexler.
On 14 September 1921, Hitler and a substantial number of SA members and other Nazi party adherents disrupted a meeting at the Lowenbraukeller of the Bavarian League.
This federalist organization objected to the centralism of the Weimar Constitution, but accepted its social program.
The League was led by Otto Ballerstedt, an engineer whom Hitler regarded as “my most dangerous opponent.”
One Nazi, Hermann Esser, climbed upon a chair and shouted that the Jews were to blame for the misfortunes of Bavaria, and the Nazis shouted demands that Ballerstedt yield the floor to Hitler.
The Nazis shoved Ballerstedt off the stage into the audience.
Both Hitler and Esser were arrested, and Hitler commented notoriously to the police commissioner, “It’s all right. We got what we wanted. Ballerstedt did not speak.
Hitler was eventually sentenced to 3 months imprisonment and ended up serving only a little over one month.
On 4 November 1921, the Nazi Party held a large public meeting in the Munich Hofbräuhaus. After Hitler had spoken for some time, the meeting erupted into a melee in which a small company of SA defeated the opposition.

From Famous Hall Melee to Famous Hall Coup D’État – the Abortive Putsch and the Trial

In the few months between the end of 1922 and the beginning of 1923, Hitler formed two organizations that would grow to have huge significance.

The first was the Jungsturm and Jugendbund, which would later become the Hitler Youth.
The other was the Stabswache, the first incarnation of what would later become the Schutzstaffeln (SS).
Inspired by Benito Mussolini’s March on Rome Hitler decided that a coup d’état was the proper strategy to seize control of the country.
In May 1923, elements loyal to Hitler within the army helped the SA to procure a barracks and its weaponry, but the order to march never came.

A pivotal moment came when Hitler led the Beer Hall Putsch, an attempted coup d’état on 8–9 November 1923.

After it failed, Hitler was put on trial for treason, gaining great public attention.
In a rather spectacular trial in which Hitler endeavored to turn the tables and put democracy and the Weimar Republic on trial as traitors to the German people, he was convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment.
He was eventually paroled, served only a little over eight months after his sentencing in early 1924.

He was well-treated in prison, had a room with a view of the river, wore a tie, received visitors to his chambers and was permitted the use of a private secretary.

Hitler used the time in Landsberg prison to consider his political strategy and dictate the first volume of ‘Mein Kampf’, principally to his loyal aide Rudolf Hess.
After the putsch the party was banned in Bavaria, but it participated in 1924’s two elections by proxy as the National Socialist Freedom Movement.
In the German election, May 1924 the party gained seats in the Reichstag, with 6.55% (1,918,329) voting for the Movement. In the German election, December 1924 the National Socialist Freedom Movement (NSFB) (Combination of the Deutschvölkische Freiheitspartei (DVFP) and the Nazi Party (NSDAP)) lost 18 seats, only holding on to 14 seats, with 3% (907,242) of the electorate voting for Hitler’s party.
The Barmat Scandal was often used later in Nazi propaganda, both as an electoral strategy and as an appeal to anti-Semitism.
Hitler had determined, after some reflection, that power was to be achieved not through revolution outside of the government, but rather through legal means, within the confines of the democratic system established by Weimar.
For five to six years there would be no further prohibitions of the party.

The Move Towards Power (1925–1930)

In the German election, May 1928 the Party achieved just 12 seats (2.6% of the vote) in the Reichstag.
The highest provincial gain was again in Bavaria (5.11%), though in three areas the NSDAP failed to gain even 1% of the vote.
Overall the NSDAP gained 2.63% (810,127) of the vote.
Partially due to the poor results, Hitler decided that Germans needed to know more about his goals.

Despite being discouraged by his publisher, he wrote a second book that was discovered and released posthumously as Zweites Buch (see left)
At this time the SA began a period of deliberate antagonism to the Rotfront by marching into Communist strongholds and starting violent altercations.
At the end of 1928, party membership was recorded at 130,000. In March 1929, Erich Ludendorff (see right) represented the Nazi party in the Presidential elections.
He gained 280,000 votes (1.1%), and was the only candidate to poll fewer than a million votes.
The battles on the streets grew increasingly violent.
After the Rotfront interrupted a speech by Hitler, the SA marched into the streets of Nuremberg and killed two bystanders.

In a tit-for-tat action, the SA stormed a Rotfront meeting on August 25 and days later the Berlin headquarters of the KPD itself.
In September Goebbels (see left) led his men into Neukölln, a KPD stronghold, and the two warring parties exchanged pistol and revolver fire.
The German referendum of 1929 was important as it gained the Nazi Party recognition and credibility it never had before.

On 14 January 1930 Horst Wessel got into an argument with his landlady about rent, but the Communists alleged it was over Wessel’s soliciting of prostitution on her premises — which would have fatal consequences.
The landlady happened to be a member of the KPD, and contacted one of her Rotfront friends, Albert Hochter, who shot Wessel in the head at point-blank range.

Wessel had penned a song months before his death, which would become Germany’s national anthem for 12 years as the Horst-Wessel-Lied.
Goebbels also seized upon the attack (and the two weeks Wessel spent on his deathbed) to premier the song.
Along with Horst Wessel, the year 1930 resulted in more deaths in political violence than the previous two years combined.
On 1 April Hannover enacted a law banning the Hitlerjugend (the Hitler Youth), and Goebbels was convicted of high treason at the end of May. Bavaria banned all political uniforms on 2 June, and on 11 June Prussia prohibited the wearing of SA brown shirts and associated insignia.
The next month Prussia passed a law against its officials holding membership in either the NSDAP or KPD.
Later in July, Goebbels was again tried, this time for “public insult”, and fined.
The government also placed the army officers on trial for “forming national socialist cells”.
Against this violent backdrop, Hitler’s party gained a shocking victory in the Reichstag, obtaining 107 seats (18.3%, 6,406,397 votes).
The Nazis became the second largest party in Germany.
In Bavaria the party gained 17.9% of the vote, though for the first time this percentage was exceeded by most other provinces: Oldenburg (27.3%), Braunschweig (26.6%), Waldeck (26.5%), Mecklenburg-Strelitz (22.6%), Lippe (22.3%) Mecklenburg-Schwerin (20.1%), Anhalt (19.8%), Thuringen (19.5%), Baden (19.2%), Hamburg (19.2%), Prussia (18.4%), Hessen (18.4%), Sachsen (18.3%), Lubeck (18.3%) and Schaumburg-Lippe (18.1%).
An unprecedented amount of money was thrown behind the campaign.
Well over one million pamphlets were produced and distributed; sixty trucks were commandeered for use in Berlin alone.
In areas where NSDAP campaigning was less rigorous, the total was as low as 9%.
The Great Depression was also a factor in Hitler’s electoral success.
Against this legal backdrop, the SA began its first major anti-Jewish action on 13 October 1930 when groups of brownshirts smashed the windows of Jewish-owned stores at Potsdamer Platz.

Hitler Takes Power (1931–1933)

On March 10, 1931, with street violence between the Rotfront and SA spiraling out of control, breaking all previous barriers and expectations, Prussia re-enacted its ban on brown shirts. Days after the ban SA-men shot dead two communists in a street fight, which led to a ban being placed on the public speaking of Goebbels, who sidestepped the prohibition by recording speeches and playing them to an audience in his absence.
Ernst Röhm, in charge of the SA, put Count Micah von Helldorff, a convicted murderer and vehement anti-Semite, in charge of the Berlin SA.
The deaths mounted up, with many more on the Rotfront side, and by the end of 1931 the SA suffered 47 deaths, and the Rotfront recorded losses of approximately 80.
Street fights and beer hall battles resulting in deaths occurred throughout February and April 1932, all against the backdrop of Adolf Hitler’s competition in the presidential election which pitted him against the monumentally popular Hindenburg. In the first round on 13 March, Hitler had polled over 11 million votes but was still behind Hindenburg.
The second and final round took place on 10 April: Hitler (36.8% 13,418,547) lost out to Paul von Hindenburg (53.0% 19,359,983) whilst KPD candidate Thälmann gained a meagre percentage of the vote (10.2% 3,706,759).
At this time, the Nazi party had just over 800,000 card-carrying members.
Three days after the presidential elections, the German government banned the NSDAP paramilitaries, the SA and the SS, on the basis of the Emergency Decree for the Preservation of State Authority.
This action was largely prompted by details which emerged at a trial of SA men for assaulting unarmed Jews in Berlin.
But after less than a month the law was repealed by Franz von Papen, Chancellor of Germany, on 30 May.
Such ambivalence about the fate of Jews was supported by the culture of anti-Semitism that pervaded the German public at the time.
Dwarfed by Hitler’s electoral gains, the KPD turned away from legal means and increasingly towards violence.
One resulting battle in Silesia resulted in the army being dispatched, each shot sending Germany further into a potential all-out civil war. By this time both sides marched into each other’s strongholds hoping to spark rivalry. Hermann Göring, as speaker of the Reichstag, asked the Papen government to prosecute shooters. Laws were then passed which made political violence a capital crime.
The attacks continued, and reached fever pitch when SA storm leader Axel Schaffeld was assassinated.
At the end of July, the Nazi party gained almost 14,000,000 votes, securing 230 seats in the Reichstag.

Energised by the incredible results, Hitler asked to be made Chancellor.
Franz von Papen (see right) offered the position of Vice Chancellor but Hitler refused.
Hermann Göring, in his position of Reichstag president, asked that decisive measures be taken by the government over the spate in murders of national socialists.
On 9 August, amendments were made to the Reichstrafgesetzbuch statute on ‘acts of political violence’, increasing the penalty to ‘lifetime imprisonment, 20 years hard labour or death’. Special courts were announced to try such offences.
When in power less than half a year later, Hitler would use this legislation against his opponents with devastating effect.
The law was applied almost immediately but did not bring the perpetrators behind the recent massacres to trial as expected. Instead, five SA men who were alleged to have murdered a KPD member in Potempa (Upper Silesia) were tried.
Adolf Hitler appeared at the trial as a defence witness, but on 22 August the five were convicted and sentenced to death.
On appeal, this sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in early September.
They would serve just over four months before Hitler freed all imprisoned Nazis in a 1933 amnesty.

The Nazi party lost 35 seats in the November 1932 election but remained the Reichstag’s largest party.
The most shocking move of the early election campaign was to send the SA to support a Rotfront action against the transport agency and in support of a strike.
After Chancellor Papen left office, he secretly told Hitler that he still held considerable sway with President Hindenburg and that he would make Hitler chancellor as long as he, Papen, could be the vice chancellor.

On 30 January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of a coalition government of the NSDAP-DNVP Party.
The SA and SS led torchlight parades throughout Berlin.
In the coalition government, three members of the cabinet were Nazis: Hitler, Wilhelm Frick (Minister of the Interior) and Hermann Göring (Minister Without Portfolio).
With Germans who opposed Nazism failing to unite against it, Hitler soon moved to consolidate absolute power.


1936 Berlin Olympic Games

(‘I CALL ON THE YOUTH OF THE WORLD’)

THE  XI  OLYMPIAD
“German sport has only one task: to strengthen the character of the German people, imbuing it with the fighting spirit and steadfast camaraderie necessary in the struggle for its existence.”

— Minister of Propaganda Dr. Joseph Goebbels


The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event that was held in 1936 in Berlin, Germany.
Berlin won the bid to host the Games over Barcelona, Spain, on 26 April 1931, at the 29th IOC Session in Barcelona (two years before the NSDAP came to power).


It marked the second and final time that the International Olympic Committee would gather to vote in a city which was bidding to host those Games.
The only other time this occurred was at the inaugural IOC Session in Paris, France, on 24 April 1894. Then, Athens and Paris were chosen to host the 1896 and 1900 Games, respectively.

To outdo the Los Angeles, USA games of 1932, the Nazis built a new 100,000-seat track and field stadium, six gymnasiums, and many other smaller arenas.

They also installed a closed-circuit television system and radio network that reached 41 countries, with many other forms of expensive high-tech electronic equipment.

Filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, a favorite of Adolf Hitler, was commissioned by the German Olympic Committee to film the Games for $7 million.
Her film, titled Olympia, pioneered many of the techniques now common in the filming of sports.
Hitler saw the Games as an opportunity to promote his government and ideals of racial supremacy.
Total ticket revenues were 7.5 million Reichsmark, generating a profit of over one million marks. The official budget did not include outlays by the city of Berlin (which issued an itemized report detailing its costs of 16.5 million marks) or outlays of the German national government (which did not make its costs public, but is estimated to have spent US$30 million, chiefly in capital outlays).
Host City Selection

The bidding for these Olympic Games was the first to be contested by IOC members casting their votes for their favorite host city.

The vote occurred in 1931 during the Weimar Republic era, before Adolf Hitler rose to power in 1933. There were many other cities around the world that wanted to host this Summer Olympics, but they did not receive any IOC votes.
The other cities competing to hold the games were: Alexandria, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Cologne, Dublin, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Lausanne, Nuremberg, Rio de Janeiro, and Rome.
Academics cannot agree whether the IOC during this period was a willing collaborator or an organization that favored the aesthetics of fascist governments.
Although the IOC was insulated from the reality of Nazism, elements of Hitler’s regime were in parallel alignment with the sporting ideologies of the IOC.
The next scheduled games in 1940 were awarded to Tokyo even though Japan was becoming an aggressive militaristic, nationalist state.
Ironically in 1938 the Japanese rejected hosting the games because they saw the Olympics and its pacifist values as ‘an effete form of European culture’.

The Olympic village was located at Estal in Wustermark, (at 52°32′10.78″N 13°0′33.20″E), on the western edge of Berlin.
The site, which was 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the center of the city, consisted of one to two floor dormitories, dining areas, a swimming pool, and training facilities.
During the Second World War, it was used as a hospital for injured Wehrmacht soldiers. In 1945 it was taken over by the Soviet Union and became a torture and interrogation center for SMERSH.
Recent efforts have been made to restore parts of the former village, but to no avail. 


Influence of Nazi Ideologies

Hans von Tschammer und Osten, as Reichssportführer, i.e. head of the Deutscher Reichsbund für Leibesübungen (DRL), the Reich Sports Office, played a major role in the structure and organization of the Olympics.

Hans von Tschammer und Osten (25 October 1887 in Dresden, Kingdom of Saxony – 25 March 1943) was a German sport official, SA leader and a member of the Reichstag. He was married to Sophie Margarethe von Carlowitz.
The Summer Olympics in Berlin were held during von Tschammer’s tenure as Reichssportführer. He played a major role in the structure and organization of the Olympic Games together with Carl Diem, who was the former secretary of the Deutscher Reichsausschuss für Leibesübungen (DRA). Von Tschammer trusted the organization of the Fourth Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Karl Ritter von Halt, whom he named President of the Committee for the organization of the games.

He promoted the idea that the use of sports would harden the German spirit and instill unity among German youth. At the same time he also believed that sports was a ‘way to weed out the weak.’

Von Tschammer trusted the details of the organisation of the games to Theodor Lewald and Carl Diem, the former president and secretary of the Deutscher Reichsausschuss für Leibesübungen, the forerunner of the Reich Sports Office.

Carl Diem (1882-1962) — a highly respected sports official before, during, and after the Nazi Government — “he was an avid athlete as a young man. Denigrating the value of his country’s powerful but archaic Turner Sport Movement, an institution entrenched in the Fatherland for over a century, Diem became a dedicated enthusiast and advocator of a German sporting movement parallel to those developing rapidly in fin du siecle Anglo-Saxon nations. Diem followed a career path in teaching and sport administration, rising rapidly to head what became known as the German National Sports University, founded in Berlin in 1920.”

He had a long association with Germany’s Olympic movement. He was the 30-year-old captain of the German team at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, and, like Theodor Lewald, appointed to the 1916 organizing committee. Diem, “though generally staying in the background, did more than anyone else in the Reich during the first half of the twentieth century to advance German sports and German Olympic ambitions.”
In 1936, he became the General-Secretary of the Berlin Organisationskomittee. His “inspired contributions” to the Berlin Games included the Iron Bell with the words, ‘Ich rufe die Jugend der Welt‘ (I call on the youth of the world); Olympische Jugend (Olympic Youth), a five-act pageant of dances at the opening ceremonies; and, the torch lighting in Olympia and relay to Berlin. Diem described the Berlin Games as an event for Germany to lead “a victory charge for a better Europe.”

THE OLYMPIC TORCH RELAY
The media in the United Kingdom was saturated before the London Games began with reports and images of the ‘Olympic Torch’.

Strangely, no mention was made of the origins of the Olympic Torch Relay – although there has been a suggestion that it has ‘deep’ and ‘mystic’ origins in ‘democratic’ ancient Greece.
In fact the first Olympic Torch Relay was instituted by Hans von Tschammer und Osten, as Reichssportführer, i.e. head of the Deutscher Reichsbund für Leibesübungen (DRL), the Reich Sports Office,
The Olympic Flame was used for the third time at these Games, but this marked the first time it was kindled in Olympia, Greece, and then brought to the Olympic Stadium by a torch relay.
The National Socialists concocted a ‘quasi-religious’ ceremony at Olympia, which involved a torch being kindled by the rays of the sun at the hands of ‘so-called’ priestesses of Apollo (why not Zeus as he was the patron god of Olympia).

For the Nazis the sun, which was represented by the swastika was, the source of creativity and life, and flames kindled by the sun’s rays were equally symbolic of the creativity and life of the Aryan race – the ancient Greeks, of course, being considered Aryans par-exellence.
This also explains why the Nazis were so enamoured with torchlight processions, and flaming cauldrons.
For the Games of the XI Olympiad a beautiful torch was designed, bearing the olympic rings and a map of the torch relay etched onto the handle.
In the Olympic stadium in Berlin a huge bronze ‘cauldron’ was created.
This cauldrom was lit at the comencement of the Games, and was ceremoniously extinguished on the last night of the Games, and this custom has been continued ever since.
So, the modern ‘Olympics’ is centred round a Völkisch ceremony of Aryan Sun worship – with no connection to the ancient Greeks.

History

The games were the first to have live television coverage.
The German Post Office, using equipment from Telefunken, broadcast over 70 hours of coverage to special viewing rooms throughout Berlin and Potsdam and a few private TV sets, transmitting from the Paul Nipkow TV Station.
The Olympic Flame was used for the third time at these games, but this marked the first time it was brought to the Olympic Village by a torch relay, with the starting point in Olympia, Greece (see above)

The Republic of China’s Three Principles of the People was chosen as the best national anthem of the games.
The official book of the 1936 Olympics is present in many libraries containing the signatures of all gold medalists.

Notable Achievements

Germany had a prosperous year in the equestrian events, winning individual and team gold in all three disciplines, as well as individual silver in dressage.
In the cycling match sprint finals, the German Toni Merkens fouled Arie van Vliet of the Netherlands. Instead of being disqualified, he was fined 100 marks and kept his gold. German gymnasts Konrad Frey and Alfred Schwarzmann both won three gold medals.
Jesse Owens won four gold medals in the sprint and long jump events.
His German competitor Luz Long offered Owens advice after he almost failed to qualify in the long jump and was posthumously awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for sportsmanship. Mack Robinson, brother to Jackie Robinson won the 200 meter sprint silver medal behind Owens by .04 seconds.
Although he did not medal, future American war hero Louis Zamperini, lagging behind in the 5,000 meter final, made up ground by clocking a 56-second final lap.
This effort caught the attention of Adolf Hitler who personally commended Zamperini on his speed. In one of the most dramatic 800 meter races in history, American John Woodruff won gold after slowing to jogging speed in the middle of the final in order to free himself from being boxed in.
Glenn Edgar Morris, a farm boy from Colorado, won Gold in the Decathlon. Rower Jack Beresford won his fifth Olympic medal in the sport, and his third gold medal.
The U.S. eight-man rowing team from the University of Washington won the gold medal, coming from behind to defeat the Germans and Italians with Adolf Hitler in attendance.
In the marathon two Korean athletes won medals – Sohn Kee-chung (gold) and Nam Sung-yong (bronze) – running for Japan and under Japanese names; Japan had annexed Korea in 1910. British India won the gold medal in the field hockey event once again (they won the gold in all Olympics from 1928 to 1956), defeating Germany 8–1 in the final, however, Indians were considered Indo-Aryans by the Germans and there was no controversy regarding their victory. Rie Mastenbroek of the Netherlands won three gold medals and a silver in swimming.
Estonia’s Kristjan Palusalu won two gold medals in Men’s Wrestling, marking the last time Estonia competed as an independent nation in the Olympics until 1992.
After winning the middleweight class, the Egyptian weightlifter Khadr El Touni continued to compete for another 45 minutes, finally exceeding the total of the German silver medalist by 35 kg.
The 20-year-old El Touni lifted a total of 387.5 kg crushing two German world champions, El Touni broke the then Olympic and world records, while the German lifted 352.5 kg.
Furthermore, El Touni had lifted 15 kg more than the heavyweight gold medalist, a feat only El Touni has accomplished.
El Touni’s new world records stood for 13 years.
Fascinated by El Touni’s performance, Adolf Hitler rushed down to greet this human miracle. Prior to the competition, Hitler was said to have been sure that Rudolf Ismayr and Adolf Wagner would embarrass all other opponents.
Hitler was so impressed by El Touni’s domination in the middleweight class that he ordered a street named after him in Berlin olympic village.
The Egyptian held the No. 1 position on the IWF list of history’s 50 greatest weightlifters for 60 years, until the 1996 Games in Atlanta where Turkey’s Naim Süleymanoğlu surpassed him to top the list.
Italy’s football team continued their dominance under legendary head coach Vittorio Pozzo, winning the gold medal in these Olympics between their two consecutive World Cup victories (1934 and 1938).
Much like the successes of German athletes, this triumph was claimed by supporters of Benito Mussolini’s regime as a vindication of the superiority of the fascist system.
Austria won the silver; a controversial win after Hitler called for a rematch of the quarterfinals match to discount Peru’s 4–2 win over Austria.
The Peruvian national Olympic team refused to play the match again and withdrew from the games. In the quarter-finals of the football tournament, Peru beat Austria 4–2 in extra-time. Peru rallied from a two-goal deficit in the final 15 minutes of normal time.
During extra-time, Peruvian fans allegedly ran onto the field and attacked an Austrian player. In the chaos, Peru scored twice and won, 4–2.
However, Austria protested and the International Olympic Committee ordered a replay without any spectators.
The Peruvian government refused and their entire Olympic squad left in protest as did Colombia.

Leni Riefenstahl – Olympia 36

In 1936, Hitler invited Riefenstahl to film the Olympic Games in Berlin, a film which Riefenstahl claimed had been commissioned by the International Olympic Committee.
She also went to Greece to take footage of the games’ original site at Olympia, where she was aided by Greek photographer Nelly, along with route of the inaugural torch relay.
This material became Olympia, a successful film which has since been widely noted for its technical and aesthetic achievements.
She was one of the first filmmakers to use tracking shots in a documentary, placing a camera on rails to follow the athletes’ movement, and she is noted for the slow motion shots included in the film.

Riefenstahl’s work on Olympia has been cited as a major influence in modern sports photography.
Riefenstahl filmed competitors of all races, including African-American Jesse Owens in what would later become famous footage.

Olympia was very successful in Germany after it premiered for Hitler’s 49th birthday in 1938, and its international debut led Riefenstahl to embark on an American publicity tour in an attempt to secure commercial release.
The film was released in two parts: ‘Olympia 1. Teil — Fest der Völker’ (Festival of Nations) and ‘Olympia 2. Teil — Fest der Schönheit’ (Festival of Beauty).
In 1937, Riefenstahl told a reporter for the Detroit News:
To me, Hitler is the greatest man who ever lived. He truly is without fault, so simple and at the same time possessed of masculine strength“.

She arrived in New York City in November 1938, five days before Kristallnacht, or ‘night of broken glass’; when news of the event reached America, Riefenstahl maintained that Hitler was innocent.
On 18 November, she was received by Henry Ford in Detroit and Olympia was shown at “The Chicago Engineers Club” two days later.
Avery Brundage stated that it was “The greatest Olympic film ever made” and Riefenstahl left for Hollywood, where she was received by the German Consul Georg Gyssling, on 24 November. She negotiated with Louis B. Mayer and on 8 December, Walt Disney brought her on a three-hour tour showing her the on-going production of Fantasia.

After the Goebbels Diaries surfaced, researchers learned that Riefenstahl had been friendly with Joseph Goebbels and his wife, Magda, attending the opera with them and coming to the Goebbels’ parties, however, Riefenstahl maintained that Goebbels was upset that she had rejected his advances and was jealous of her influence on Hitler, seeing her as an internal threat; therefore, his diaries could not be trusted.
By later accounts, Goebbels thought highly of Riefenstahl’s filmmaking but was angered with what he saw as her overspending on the Nazi-provided filmmaking budgets.

LENI RIEFENSTAHL was born in Berlin in 1902.
She studied painting and started her artistic career as a dancer.
She became already so famous after her first dance hat Max Reinhardt engaged her for the ‘Deutsches Theater’.
An injury of the knee put an end to her sensational career. 

After that, she became famous as an actress, a film director, a film producer and a film reporter.
She also became world-renowned as an actress in the films ‘Der heilige Berg’ (The Holy Mountain) (1926), ‘Der große Sprung’ (The Great Leap) (1927), ‘Die weiße Hölle vom Piz Palü’ (The White Hell of Piz Palü) (1929), ‘Stürme über dem Mont Blanc’ (Storms Over Mont Blanc) (1930), ‘Der weiße Rausch’ (The White Noise) (1931), ‘Das Blaue Licht’ (The Blue Light) (1932) and ‘SOS Eisberg’ (1933).

Her greatest success she made with the documentary film ‘Triumph des Willens’ (The Triumph of the Will) named after the Reich Party Congress 1934 in Nuremberg which got the highest awards: The gold medal in Venice in 1935 and the gold medal at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1937, however, at the end of the war this film destroyed Leni Riefenstahl’s career, for now it had no longer been recognized as a piece of art but been condemned as a National Socialist propaganda film.
Her world-famous film about the Olympic games was equally well received.
That film included two parts, part I ‘Fest der Völker’ (Festival of the Nations) and part 2 ‘Fest der Schönheit’ , (Festival of Beauty) and did also get the highest awards: the gold medal in Paris in 1937, the first price in Venice as the world’s best film in 1938, the Olympic Award by the IOC in 1939, and in 1956 it had been classified as one of the world’s best ten films.

                    

OLYMPIA GLOCKE
(The Olympic Bell)


Many of the traditions of the modern ‘Olympic’ Games originated with the 1936 Berlin Olympics – which is probably not surprising as the Nazis were masters of propaganda and spectacle.
The Logo of the Berlin Olympics was the ‘Olympia Glocke’ – the Olympic Bell – to be tolled at the opening and closing of the Games.
Interestingly, one of the ‘secrets’ of the London 2012 Games, revealed at the opening ceremony, was a huge bell (see right), tolled as the games were opened.
The Original ‘Olympia Glocke’ survived the 1939-1945 war, and still exists, and can be seen outside the Berlin ‘Olympic Stadium’.