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To Compete or Not To Compete: Controversy in the 1936 Olympics

The U.S. decision to take part in the 1936 Olympics, which took place in Berlin at the time of Nazi leadership, was a controversial issue that divided participating athletes, administrative organizations, and the American public itself, especially since the country was dealing with its own problems of racism during the era of Jim Crow laws. Use information collected from the provided sources and analyze your findings to explain the arguments presented by both sides: those who felt the U.S. should compete in the games, and those who felt the nation should boycott.

Clarifying Questions

  • What was the status of civil rights in Germany in the mid-1930s, and how did it compare to the situation in the United States?
  • What were the main arguments for participating in the games?
  • What were the main arguments against participating in the games?
  • How did the 1936 Berlin Olympics influence the global perception of Nazi Germany?


  • boycott
  • de facto segregation
  • de jure segregation
  • Jim Crow
  • Nazi Party
  • propaganda

MLA Citation

"To Compete or Not to Compete: Controversy in the 1936 Olympics." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2020, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Support/Display/2230677?cid=272. Accessed 25 Jan. 2020.

Entry ID: 2230677

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