Mythos Olympia: Autonomie und Unterwerfung von Sport und Kultur: Hoffmann, Hilmar Mythos Olympia: Autonomie und Unterwerfung von Sport und Kultur: Hoffmann, Hilmar Mythos Olympia: Autonomie und Unterwerfung von Sport und Kultur: Hoffmann, Hilmar

Mythos Olympia: Autonomie und Unterwerfung von Sport und Kultur

Hoffmann, Hilmar

Published by Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin, 1993
Condition: g+ to vg Soft cover

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Quarto. 214pp. Original photo-illustrated wrappers. Striking study on the 1936 "Nazi Olympics" as deciphered through the images of Leni Riefenstahl's "Olympia." For two weeks in August 1936, Adolf Hitler's Nazi dictatorship camouflaged its racist, militaristic character while hosting the Summer Olympics. Softpedaling its antisemitic agenda and plans for territorial expansion, the regime exploited the Games to bedazzle many foreign spectators and journalists with an image of a peaceful, tolerant Germany. Having rejected a proposed boycott of the 1936 Olympics, the United States and other western democracies missed the opportunity to take a stand that - some observers at the time claimed - might have given Hitler pause and bolstered international resistance to Nazi tyranny. With the conclusion of the Games, Germany's expansionist policies and the persecution of Jews and other "enemies of the state" accelerated, culminating in World War II and the Holocaust. Leni Riefenstahl's "Olympia" was divided into two parts: Olympia Part I: Festival of the Nations and Part II: Festival of Beauty, both released in 1938. The movies represent a tremendous aesthetic and technical cinematic achievement. Through a compilation of sporting images, "Olympia" subtly underlined a tenet of all authoritarian regimes: that individuals must be turned into machines that act as required, but do not think. At no point do the sportsmen and women in Olympia speak. After the war, Riefenstahl - who hoped her films would continue to be shown - claimed that the Nazi government had no influence on "Olympia." This was untrue. The Nazi government commissioned and financed the films. Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels' diaries indicate that he was in contact with Riefenstahl about their progress, though not always positively. "It is impossible to work with this wild woman," he wrote on one occasion. Wild though she may have been, the films are utterly compliant. The fact that "Olympia" depicts such moments as the field hockey final, in which India defeated Germany, is sometimes mistaken by Riefenstahl's defenders as evidence of her editorial independence. It is the opposite. Riefenstahl's inclusion of the occasional German defeat fits squarely with Goebbels' instructions to the German press during the Games, which were to create an impression of Nazi fairmindedness by reporting foreign as well as German victories. The Nazi obsession with race is constantly restated. "Two black runners against the strongest of the white race," muses "Olympia"'s commentator as he surveys the field for the men's 800m. On that occasion the black runners, the US's John Woodruff and Canada's Phil Edwards, took gold and bronze respectively. The most exhilarating section of the first "Olympia" film is the long-jump final, in which black American athlete Jesse Owens faces the white German champion Luz Long. In the last of three jumps, Long hits 7.87m: a new European record. The crowd is ecstatic, as is Hitler himself, who is shown applauding his champion. Then it is Owens's last jump. He composes himself. Sprints. Flies. Lands lightly in the sand. It's 8.06m, a new Olympic record (Owens already held the world record, having jumped 8.13m in 1935). Tactfully, Riefenstahl does not show Hitler's reaction to Owens's spectacular achievement. According to Albert Speer, the Führer was "highly annoyed", but rationalised Owens's success within the terms of his pseudoscientific race theories. "People whose antecedents came from the jungle were primitive, Hitler said with a shrug; their physiques were stronger than civilized whites." Moderate shelf wear along edges of wrappers. Text in German. Wrappers in overall good+, interior in very good condition. Bookseller Inventory # 37680

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Mythos Olympia: Autonomie und Unterwerfung ...

Publisher: Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin

Publication Date: 1993

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:g+ to vg

Edition: First edition.

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