Cups, cowbells, medals, and flags sport and national identity in Germany, 1936-2006
Burkel, Laurel M.
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The present study addresses the role of sport in the evolution of modern German nationalism. This work contains: a.) an historical analysis of nationalism, culture and sport from the late eighteenth until the mid-twentieth century; b.) a case study of the 1936 Garmisch/Berlin Olympics as an example of virulent nationalism and racism; c.) a case study of the 2006 World Cup in Germany as an example of national identity in twenty-first century Germany in the wake of reunification and globalization. Sport has been central to how Germans see themselves from the end of the eighteenth century until the present. This work argues that an analysis of sports, domestic politics and diplomacy can offer those interested in nationalism in contemporary Europe a helpful means of analysis of a force that remains powerful, despite the construction of the European Union. While an analysis of the evolution of mass sport indicates that Germans no longer apply the kind of racist blood and soil nationalism so virulent in the early twentieth century, sport has shown a remarkable continuity as a mirror of German aspirations for their nation, which has changed fundamentally in the realms of culture, society, and economy in the twenty-first century.
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