The Nazification of Germany

Photo of Hitler looking out onto parade

In 1931, the International Olympic Committee chose Germany to host the 1936 Summer Olympics, signaling Germany’s return to the international community after its defeat in the First World War.

The liberal democracy of the Weimar Republic collapsed shortly afterwards. By January 1933, National Socialist (Nazi) leader Adolph Hitler had been appointed Chancellor. On March 23, 1933, the Enabling Act was forced through a Reischstag purged of political opponents, turning the fragile democracy into a dictatorship. Also in March, the Nazis established Dachau concentration camp to imprison political dissidents.

Hitler’s Nazification of Germany by “coordination” – the enactment of laws and policy guidelines to ensure that all areas of public life were in alignment with Nazism – affected every aspect of society, including sports.

Adolf Hitler addresses a rally of the SA (Sturmabteilung - paramilitary stormtroopers), North Rhine-Westphalia, 1933.

USHMM, courtesy of William O. McWorkman