China has instituted its own version of the 1936 Olympics, often referred to as the “Olympic Pause.”
The Nazis gave the name “Olympic Pause” to the relaxation of the regime’s brutal racial politics in the mid-1930s. Germany had been awarded the Olympic Games for 1936 — both the Winter Games and the Summer Games — in 1931, two years before the Nazis rose to power.
As Jay Nordlinger reminds readers in NRO, many have considered the Olympics as an “embarrassment to Adolph Hitler.”
Jesse Owens, the black American trackster, came to Berlin and won four gold medals. So much for the Nazis’ “master race”! It’s a nice story, and there’s some truth to it.
But, on the whole, the Games were a boon to Hitler, serving to normalize his state.
Nazi Germany – a Perfectly Normal Country
According to William Shirer, war correspondent and author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich:
Hitler, we who covered the Games had to concede, turned the Olympics into a dazzling propaganda success for his barbarian regime.”
Duff Hart-Davis, in his book Hitler’s Games, tells us that the Nazis put across the illusion of “a perfectly normal place, in which life went on as pleasantly as in any other European country.”
Regarding China and the Olympics, Jay Nordlinger asks in NRO, “Where do you turn when you have no more moral capital to draw on? How do you claim your right to rule?”
The Communist Party turned to two things, continues Nordlinger.
- Money-making—be as materialistic as you want and make as much money as possible
- Today, the CCP milks nationalism for all it’s worth. Hosting the Olympics is a key part of that milking.”
Beijing was determined not to be denied the 2008 Games, writes Mr. Nordlinger.
It was their due, Chinese officials said. “The Olympic Games belong to the whole world,” said one of them. “The fact that the Games have not yet been held in China is a failure of the Olympic movement.” Pressed on the question of human rights, the official huffed, “There is no excuse for denying the dreams of 1.3 billion people.”
But the Chinese government also dangled carrots — human-rightsy ones. The Games “are an opportunity to foster democracy, improve human rights, and integrate China with the rest of the world,” said another official. “By allowing Beijing to host the Games, you will help the development of human rights.”
Jay Nordlinger believes that the Olympic Games should not be held in a police state. Any police state.
Lots of countries are not police states. Pick one of them.
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