Cauldron, 1936 Olympic Stadium

by Leslie Hossack

The 1936 Berlin Olympics marked the first time that a torch relay was run from Olympia to the site of the games.

Cauldron, 1936 Olympic Stadium, Berlin 2010

© Leslie Hossack

The 1936 Olympic Games were the largest to date; they involved approximately 4,000 athletes from 49 nations, and 3.8 million spectators. It was the first time that the games received worldwide radio coverage, and there were TV broadcasts as well. The Nazis were masters of symbols, pageantry, communication and propaganda.

The Berlin Olympics also marked the first time ever that a torch relay was run from Olympia to the site of the games. The cauldron, located just inside the Marathon Gate of the Olympic Stadium, is Germanic in design with its clean, unadorned lines. Like all Nazi architecture, it is intended to look durable, permanent, timeless. Hitler decreed that the Olympic Stadium be constructed entirely of German materials, and this was true for the cauldron as well, which is made of steel on concrete.

Clearly visible in this photograph is the new roof of the stadium, added during the 2000-2004 modernization. The cantilevered construction is made up of a steel framework covered by a membrane, except for the outermost 13 metres which are glazed. Integral to this new roof are state of the art lighting and sound systems.

The renovated stadium now seats 74,228 people, not 100,000 as it did originally. On the right hand side of this image you can see the VIP boxes which look the same as they did when Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler stood there, in the so-called Führer’s box, and officially opened the Berlin Olympic Games.

Architect: Werner March                         Date: 1936

Conversion Architects: GMP                  Date: 2000-2004

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