May 13, 1931, the International Olympic Committee, headed by Count Henri
Baillet-Latour of Belgium, awarded the 1936 Summer Olympics to Berlin.
The choice signaled Germany's return to the world community after defeat
in World War I.
Two years later,
Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany and quickly
turned the nation's fragile democracy into a one-party dictatorship. Police
rounded up thousands of political opponents, detaining them without trial
in concentration camps. The Nazi regime also put into practice racial policies
that aimed to "purify" and strengthen the Germanic "Aryan" population.
A relentless campaign began to exclude Germanyís one-half million Jews
from all aspects of German life.
reviews 35,000 Storm Troopers (Sturmabteilung--SA), members of the Nazi
Party's paramilitary wing. February 20, 1936. USHMM Photo Archives
Adolf Hitler was the leader of the National Socialist German Workerís Party
-- the Nazi Party. Many Germans hoped Hitler would bring order to a nation
plagued by economic depression, social unrest, and political instability.
Hitlerís brand of fascism combined several elements: extreme nationalism,
militarism, racism, and antisemitism.