Original Diagram of the Reichssportfeld, 1936
This original diagram from the Third Reich is from 1936, and depicts the Reichssportfeld. It was here that the 11th Summer Olympics, known today as the Berlin Olympics, was held that year. Although the event is notable for several reasons, including the achievements of famous American athlete Jesse Owens, the games are particularly notorious as a Nazi tool of propaganda.
The Reichssportfeld was constructed uniquely for the Berlin Olympics, and was the brainchild of Chancellor Adolf Hitler himself. Its impressive scale and innovative design, including limestone towers, imposing German sculpture, arenas for every sport, and an electronic setup that allowed it to be the first televised Olympic in history, wowed the world. Despite initial controversy due to the Nazis' anti-Semitic views, the games went on as planned.
Even so, the idea of the Olympics itself was a dream for the racist regime, who saw it as a demonstration of the Germans' so-called natural superiority and strength. Nazi-supported publications called for Jews and blacks to be banned from the games, which raised ire from other host nations, and Hitler was forced to not only include them, but to remove anti-Semitic signs around Berlin to keep up a positive image. Even so, Romani people were sent to a concentration camp shortly before the games, and Jewish American athletes were pulled from some of the rosters during the event. When the games came to an end, Nazi Germany not only achieved its nefarious goal of attracting international attention, but also came out as the victor of the Olympics when its athletes took home the most gold.
This incredibly rare print shows an aerial view of the entire complex, including the main Olympic stadium, called the Olympiastadion in German. At the bottom right, it includes the name of Werner March, the architect of the Reichssportfeld, who - alongside his brother, Walter - helped Hitler achieve his vision of an enormous sports complex that would reinvigorate Germany's image worldwide. Construction took only two years, beginning in 1934. The Reichssportfeld was massive, consisting of over 300 acres. The complex could hold over 100,000 attendees in all. In each section of the complex, Hitler had his own special box where he and his colleagues could watch the competitions.
Sheet size: 11" x 8"
Condition: Excellent condition