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1. Introduction and Context
About this Lecture
In this module, we provide an introduction to sports and physical culture in Germany between the mid-19th century and the end of the First World War, focusing in particular on: (i) the politics, society and culture of Weimar Germany; (ii) the popularity of competitive sports in Britain, and the movement towards greater codification from the mid-19th century onwards, e.g. boxing, football; (iii) the emergence of the first sporting superstars, particularly boxers such as James J. Corbett and Jack Johnson; (iv) the popularity in Germany of non-competitive activities such as gymnastics (Turnen), the popularity of gymnastic festivals (Turnfeste), and the rejection of 'foreign sports' such as football and boxing; (v) the growth of football and cycling among the German working classes; (vi) the creation of youth groups such as Wandervogel, and the similarities to the scout movement in Britain; (vii) the instrumentalization of sports societies to maximise the nation's preparedness for war in the run-up to the First World War; and (viii) the impact of the First World War on Germany and the rest of Europe.
In this course, Dr Jon Hughes (Royal Holloway) explores the role played by sport and physical culture in the Weimar Republic. In the fist module, we provide an introduction to sport and physical culture in Germany from the mid-19th century to the end of the First World War, including the preference among Germans for non-competitive gymnastics as opposed to competitive sports such as football or boxing. In the second and third modules, we think about the spectacular growth in the popularity of sport in Weimar Germany, before turning in the fourth module to consider the ways that art and culture responded to this boom in sports. In the fifth module, we think about how and why sport in the Weimar Republic became the subject of political debate and ideological instrumentalization, particularly in the 1930s.
Dr Jon Hughes is Reader in German and Cultural Studies in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Royal Holloway, University of London. His research interests lie in Modern German and Austrian literature and film, and in particular in the culture of the interwar period (1918-1939). He also researches the history of sport and cultural responses to sport and leisure in the German-speaking countries. His recent publications include a substantial, illustrated monograph on the cultural, social and political significance of the legendary German boxer Max Schmeling (1905-2005), Max Schmeling and the Making of a National Hero in Twentieth-Century Germany (2017).
Cite this Lecture
Hughes, J. (2021, March 10). Germany – Sport and Physical Culture, 1919-33 - Introduction and Context [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/germany-sport-and-physical-culture-1919-33/introduction-and-context
Hughes, Jon. "Germany – Sport and Physical Culture, 1919-33 – Introduction and Context." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 10 Mar 2021, https://massolit.io/courses/germany-sport-and-physical-culture-1919-33/introduction-and-context