course record 65
in the morning, did it again in the afternoon and England won the
title by four strokes from France, with Germany relegated to third.
Von Ribentropp dashed to intercept Hitler’s car and the disgruntled
Führer returned to Berlin. It was another blow to his pride to add
to the exploits of the brilliant black American Jesse Owens. The
previous year Owens, a 21-year-old student, had set three world
records in one day at a meeting in Michigan: the long jump, 220
yards and 220 yards hurdles. When he won his fourth gold medal in
Berlin Hitler had left the Stadium rather than acknowledge the
victory of a black athlete.
Following the death of King George V in January, the Prince of Wales had succeeded to the throne as Edward V111 and now, as the year drew to a close, a constitutional crisis hit the country and threatened the break-up of the Empire. It had been provoked by the prospect of the King’s marriage with the American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. On December 11th in a radio broadcast he announced his abdication and prepared to sail into exile. Popular opinion was very much behind the King and there was a mood of sadness, not least amongst the golfing fraternity who had benefited from his patronage. Hitler regretted the King’s demise as much as anyone. He had been counting on Royal influence in negotiations with the British government and Edward had been his personal guest during golf trips to Germany; the Olympic tournament would help to cement the relationship. It was decreed that Germany would become a golfing nation and the lucrative golf tourism market would be exploited. The number of golf clubs had already passed the fifty mark, the long-term aim being to add five-hundred more by 1960, but the policy was to be short-lived; When it was no longer useful to him Hitler took no further interest in the sport. The war was to set German golf back thirty years and less than half of the clubs existing in 1936 were to survive the destruction; the losses would not be regained until 1965.