Nationalism, mass politics, and sport cold war case studies at seven degrees
Buckel, Bart A.
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This study treats the role of sport in international relations in the Cold War. The era of nationalism and total war in the twentieth century produced one of the most violent periods in European history prior to, and including, World War II. The masses were mobilized around myths, legends, and symbols of extraordinary power. Sport and physical culture were viewed initially as a means of creating societies more fit for war and quickly became a tremendous social movement. Sports became a primary medium through which superiority propaganda was transmitted by various clubs, interest groups, governments, and states. Governments realized sport and physical culture's political potential, and the U.S. and U.S.S.R. became fully engaged in a war fought on ersatz battlefields comprised of soccer pitches, track fields, and hockey arenas during the Cold War. The twentieth century, particularly the Cold War era, provides several examples of sporting events deliberately planned with political gain in mind and instances where sporting results were intentionally exploited for governmental gain. The study of the history of such events provides one with a better understanding of the appeal of nationalist movements and how they can spiral out of control leading to violent nationalism if left unchecked.
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