The Olympic torch 70-day relay across Britain is being heralded as a moment for celebration.
The International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said the relay will “promote peace and to make our world a better place”.
There’s just one problem with that—the modern torch relay was invented as a Nazi propaganda tool.
A flame was lit during the ancient Greek Olympics—but it didn’t move.The idea of a relay was dreamed up for the infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Adolf Hitler wanted to link his Nazi Reich with ancient Greece. Alongside propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, Hitler thought a bit of classical mythology was exactly what was needed.
They saw the 1936 Olympics as a way of spreading their racist message. And few aspects of the games achieved that better than the torch relay.
Torches and flames had a strong link to Nazi ideology. Footage from the relay was a key part of Leni Riefenstahl’s Nazi propaganda documentary Olympia.
The torch made its way to Germany through Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria and Czechoslovakia to Berlin. Before long Hitler’s troops made the same journey in reverse.
Still, these days the Olympic torch relay is just a bit of fun, right? Not for Simon Moore, who was slapped with an “Olympics Asbo” after protesting to defend Leyton Marsh in east London from Olympics-related construction.
He’ll be forced to keep a close eye on where the torch is going—because he’s been banned from standing within 100 yards of its entire route.
Finally, you may remember the £250 million glass-roofed entrance hall to MPs’ parliamentary offices. You know, the one with indoor fig trees rented at our expense for a new bargain price of £18,500 a year.
It’s about to get a new addition—a huge screen for MPs to watch the Olympics on.
Five Olympic facts
The Olympics will cost an estimated £11 billion—more than the Tories’ latest cut to the welfare budget
£500 million has gone on the stadium alone. Even the rubbish London 2012 logo cost £400,000
Tickets for the best seats at the opening ceremony cost £2,012
A pain-inducing “sound cannon” is being deployed as part of the security operation
The site will include the world’s biggest ever McDonald’s. Will the athletes be eating there?