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5. The Politics of Sport
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about how and why sport in the Weimar Republic became the subject of political debate and ideological instrumentalization, focusing in particular on: (i) some of the key political debates in relation to sport, e.g. the value of competitive versus non-competitive sport, the importance of international sporting success, etc.; (ii) the views of left-leaning parties such as the SDP and the KPD; (iii) the importance of events such as the 1922 German Workers' Gymnastics Festival in Leipzig and the 1925 International Workers' Olympiad in Frankfurt; (iv) the depiction of Arbeitersport (Worker Sport) in the 1932 film, Kuhle Wampe; (v) the celebration of individual sporting success in racial terms by Hitler and the Nazis, e.g. Max Schmeling's defeat of Joe Lewis in 1936; (vi) the evolution of Hitler's views between the mid-1920s and mid-1930s; (vii) the use of sport as a means of preparing for war; and (viii) the importance of the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
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 - The Politics of Sport [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/germany-sport-and-physical-culture-1919-33/the-politics-of-sport
Hughes, Jon. "Germany – Sport and Physical Culture, 1919-33 – The Politics of Sport." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 10 Mar 2021, https://massolit.io/courses/germany-sport-and-physical-culture-1919-33/the-politics-of-sport