Adolf Hitler – address to the members of the International Olympic Committee

Adolf Hitler with members of the International Olympic Committee

Berlin, Reich Chancellery, August 1, 1936

Esteemed Mr. President, Gentlemen of the International Olympic Committee and the Organization Committee!

It is a pleasure for me to welcome you personally and on behalf of the German Volk on this, the day marking the opening of the Olympic Games and to have an opportunity to thank you, esteemed Mr. President, for the kind remarks you have addressed to me.

My thanks also include the International Olympic Committee for having chosen the capital of the German Reich as the site of the Eleventh Olympics of the modern cycle, thus affording Germany the opportunity to make its contribution to the immortal memory of the Olympic Games. It was with enthusiasm and joy that Germany applied itself to the task of preparing this years’ competitions in a framework which attempts to do justice to the grand idea and traditions of the Olympic Games, and it hopes to have thus contributed toward promoting the ideal of strengthening the bonds between the peoples, the ideal upon which these competitive Games are based.

You, gentlemen of the German Organization Committee, I may thank for the devoted and careful work you have put into the preparation of these Games.

I am confident in my hope that success will reward you for your efforts.

The basic principles which are once more evidenced to the world in the Olympic Games are ones of very ancient origin. They have been passed down from that old place of worship where the Games were celebrated for more than a thousand years as an expression of religious sentiment and a demonstration of the competitive spirit of the Greek people. German scholars unearthed this honorable site in the years 1875-81 in accordance with agreements concluded at that time with the Greek government: hence the world was given a more detailed impression of the arena of this national shrine of the Hellenes and of the type and structure of the games. The excavation was not fully completed at that time.

I have now decided, as a lasting memory of the Eleventh Olympics in Berlin, to resume and complete the excavation work begun in 1875 at the site of the Olympic festivities and sports events. I may extend my thanks to the Royal Greek Government for granting its enthusiastic consent to this task. Thus a consecrated site from ancient culture is returned to today’s civilization. It is my hope that this will help to keep the memory of the Olympic Games of 1936 alive for all time to come.

That they may be a wonderful success is my one sincere desire and the one we all share.

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