How Hitler Hijacked World Sport: The World Cup, the Olympics, the Heavyweight Championship and the Grand Prix

Adolf Hitler understood the importance of sport, and exercised his malign and dangerous influence to try to co-opt it for the Nazi cause. He intended to own the Olympic movement, housing it permanently in Berlin from 1940 in a stadium seating 450,000 people. His hijack of the 1936 Games remains one of sport's most controversial events, using it as he did to promote Aryan supremacy and showcase the Nazi state. Austria was forced to withdraw from the 1938 football World Cup just days before it started because the country no longer existed. The boxing matches between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling in 1936 and 1938 came to represent democracy versus fascism. German technology crushed all comers in Grand Prix racing, as well as the Isle of Man TT. A government ministry was even set up to use physical fitness to prepare the population for war. Hitler understood that sport has many uses: this is how he used it.