This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War. Iconic Photos look back at how it all began — and how we covered it.
Hitler’s first appearance in Iconic Photos date from 1914, when a figure allegedly identified as Adolf Hitler was seen outside Field Marshals’ Hall listening to the announcement of the First World War. After the war, his rise in a defeated and dejected Germany was meteoric. In 1926, he became the Führer of the National Socialists; the then-37-year old was also already a millionaire, thanks to his book Mein Kampf.
His party won the plurality in the elections of 1933. On January 30th 1933 when President Paul von Hindenburg, hero of a World War, called upon Hitler, villain of another, to be German Chancellor. Less than a month later, the Reichstag burnt down in a pivotal event which paved the way for the rise of Nazi consolidation. Hitler fingered Communist agitators as arsonists; civil liberties were suspended, and countless politicians and journalists were locked up, and the communist party was outlawed. When Hitler visited Tanneberg — the site of a famous battle in which East Prussia was liberated from the Russians during the First World War by Hindenburg — later that year, the ceremony was uncomfortably patriotic and militarist. Germany rearmament began on those blood-soaked fields.
A strong re-emerging Germany was on display in pomp and splendor of Berlin Olympics in 1936. There were a few hitches for the Nazis, like Jesse Owens winning 100 m sprint and smashing Hitler’s theories of racial superiority, but the Olympics were a great success for Germany. The next year, the Fuhrer welcomed the Duke of Windsor, the ci-devant Edward VIII, to his Obersalzberg retreat.
Hitler’s plans for a Greater Germany were sown years ahead. Already in 1934, he has orchestrated the murder of Austrian dictator Engelbert Dollfuss, who was vehemently against Nazism, and set Austria on the course that would eventually led to its capitulation to his Third Reich in the Anschluss of 1938. A few months later, British Prime Minister was in Munich to sign the Anglo-German Non-Aggression Declaration. Sudetenland was transferred from Czechoslovakia to Germany in an attempt to satisfy Hitler’s desire for Lebensraum.
A little over a year later, emboldened German troops were in Warsaw, having divided Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union, and the world was in a cataclysmic world war yet again.
11 thoughts on “Look Back in Anger — Nazism in 1930s”
You are such an amazingly clear writer. I think I gained deeper understanding of the runup to WWII from this one post than from actually studying it in school. Thank you!
The photo of Jesse Owens seems out of context, in my opinion, as it is not about hate or anger, but friendship and respect.
Luz Long, the German Athlete who won the silver was not a racist and was very friendly to Owens in public and in private, which upset Hitler greatly
Owens fouled on his first two jumps. Knowing that he needed to reach at least 7.15m (about 23 feet 3 inches) on his third jump in order to advance to the finals in the afternoon, Owens sat on the field, dejected.
Owens said that Long went to him and told him to try and jump from a spot several inches behind the take-off board. Since Owens routinely made distances far greater than the minimum of 7.15m required to advance, Long surmised that Owens would be able to advance safely to the next round without risking a foul trying to push for a greater distance.
On his third qualifying jump, Owens was calm and jumped with at least four inches (10 centimeters) to spare, easily qualifying for the finals. In the finals competition later that day, the jumpers exceeded the old Olympic record five times.
Owens went on to win the gold medal in the long jump with 8.06m while besting Long’s own record of 7.87m.
Long won the silver medal for second place and was the first to congratulate Owens: they posed together for photos and walked arm-in-arm to the dressing room. Owens said, “It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me in front of Hitler… You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn’t be a plating on the twenty-four karat friendship that I felt for Luz Long at that moment”.
But Owens is making the nazi salute. Must have been a difficult time for Owens.
Owens is SALUTING. Long is the one giving the Nazi salute
(and what we know now as the Nazi salute originally came from the Roman greeting. Another point is that in 1939 Long was OBLIGATED to greet his president in that way. Just as the English have to bow or curtsey to their King/Queen)
it must have been horrible for Owen to be in that hate-filled country, but counteracted by meeting Long a non-racist
[…] Look Back in Anger — Nazism in 1930s This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War. Iconic Photos look back at how it all began — and how we covered it. Hitler’s first appearance in Iconic Photos date… […]
[…] 75º aniversario de la continuación del conflicto que se inició en la segunda década del siglo. En Iconic Photos, nos muestran una colección de fotografías de las que llamamos icónicas o representativas de unos hechos y una época y que abarcan […]
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[…] and contextualize them. Therefore, the chapter on pre-war Europe will be an essay on Hitler through these posts. Chapter 16, on Vietnam, will be a tour de force photojourney from Dien Bien Phu through […]
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