Post-Olympism? Questioning Sport in the Twenty-First Century

By John Bale; Mette Krogh Christensen | Go to book overview

2
‘What's the Difference between
Propaganda for Tourism or for a
Political Regime?’

Was the 1936 Olympics the first
Postmodern Spectacle?
Arnd Krüger

Perspective

Postmodernism has taught us that the perspective of the author has to be taken into consideration. When I finished my doctoral dissertation on the 1936 Olympics and its impact on foreign public opinion in 1971 at the History Department of the University of Cologne (Krüger, 1972), I approached the German Federal Institute for Sport Science (Bundesinstitut für Sportwissenschaft) for a printing subsidy for what I (and my faculty) thought was a pretty good manuscript. The sub-section head of the Institute in charge of such applications contacted me and recommended that I should cut out everything that I had written on the basis of archival sources about how the Nazis staged the Games, and instead concentrate entirely on the foreign public opinion. Under these conditions I would get half of my book printed by a decent publisher.

Maybe 27-year-old PhDs should shy away from questioning the wisdom of an agent of the federal government; but I did not only think that it was a scandal. I also recognized the name of the expert who wanted to perpetuate Nazi propaganda about how well the German sport authorities organized the Games in the true spirit of Olympism, when, in reality it was the Nazi government that had its way in staging a gigantic propaganda show. This sub-section head of a federal government agency had written his own PhD thesis on the 1936 Olympics as a staff member of the then German Propaganda Minister in 1938 and had continued his career after the war in various federal ministries. With the help of my local (Liberal) Member of Parliament the question was solved and my thesis was printed in full by a prominent publisher, with a subsidy

-33-

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