1940 Tokyo, Japan (cancelled)

The anticipated 1940 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XII Olympiad and originally scheduled to be held from September 21 to October 6, 1940, in Tokyo, Japan, were cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II. Tokyo was stripped of its host status for the Games by the IOC after the renunciation by the Japanese of the IOC’s Cairo Conference of 1938, due to the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

The government of Japan had abandoned its support for the 1940 Games in July 1938. The IOC then awarded the Games toHelsinki, Finland, the runner-up in the original bidding process. The Games were then scheduled to be staged from July 20 to August 4, 1940. The Olympic Games were suspended indefinitely following the outbreak of World War II and did not resume until the London Games of 1948.

Had the 1940 Summer Games been held, a never-before used method of bringing the Olympic Flame from Nazi Germany to Japan was proposed – by air delivery, in the purpose-builtMesserschmitt Me 261 Adolfine long-range aircraft, which was designed to have a maximum range of some 9,500 km (5,900 mi) unrefueled.

With the Olympics cancelled, the major international athletics event of the year turned out to be the annual Finland-Sweden athletics international, held at the new Helsinki Olympic Stadium, exceptionally held as a triple international among Finland, Sweden and Germany. Gliding was due to be an Olympic sport in the 1940 Games after a demonstration at the Berlin Games in 1936. The sport has not been featured in any Games since, though the glider designed for it, the DFS Olympia Meise was produced in large numbers after the war.

Helsinki eventually held the 1952 Summer Olympics and Tokyo the 1964 Summer Olympics.
Despite the cancellation of the 1940 Olympics, the Tokyo organizing committee released its budget for the Games. In a departure from standard practice, the budget included all capital outlays as well as direct organizing costs. The total budget was ¥20.1 million, one-third of which would have been paid by the Tokyo metropolitan government.

During August 1940, prisoners of war celebrated a “special Olympics” called International Prisoner-of-War Olympic Games. These were inaugurated and celebrated in stalag number XIII-A in Langwasser close to Nuremberg, Germany. An Olympic flag 29 by 46 cm in size was made of a Polish prisoner’s shirt and, drawn in crayon, it featured the Olympic rings and banners for Belgium, France, Great Britain, Norway, Poland and Netherlands. A feature film was produced by the director Andrzej Kotkowski in 1979 called Olimpiada ’40 telling the story of these games and one of the prisoners of war, Teodor Niewiadomski