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Olympics and Politics – Berlin / Barcelona 1936

On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the
Berlin Summer Olympics
and the
Olimpíada Popular
, the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives presents the exhibition,
Olympics and Politics – Berlin / Barcelona 1936
. The Berlin Games are viewed through the lense of their counterpart, the Workers’ Olympics, and depicts the war that the Nazi ideology so pompously promoted through the Olympic Games.
During the summer of 1936 two cities were about to host important sports events; Berlin was preparing for the
XI. Summer Olympics
, and Barcelona was getting ready for
Olimpiada Popular
, a series of sports events that provided an alternative for the Olympic games organized by the Nazi regime. The opening of the Berlin Olympics was accompanied by funfairs to the music of Richard Strauss, while in Barcelona the cheers were put down by the noise of the war. One day before the planned opening general Francisco Franco and his troops carried out a successful putsch, so this sport event could never happen.

Even though the People’s Olimpiad never happened, some sportsmen stayed in Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War. These two sport events did not only differ in their opening; with organizing the Berlin games the Nazi regime aimed at demonstrating their pomp with grandiose buildings, decorations, and media campaigns, but still, the world could experience for the first time the true consequences of such a propaganda in the Spanish Civil War in Barcelona.

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