sport in Nazism

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Adolf Hitler (1889—1945)

Leni Riefenstahl (1902—2003) German film-maker and photographer

Jesse Owens (1913—1980) American athlete


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Sport featured in the political strategies of the German National Socialist (Nazi) Party in several ways: as a way of building physical strength in the country's citizens (‘strength through joy’ was a slogan of the party); as a means of asserting the physical superiority of the white Aryan race (foiled by various successful black achievements in the boxing ring and in the athletics stadium, for instance); and as a statement of the organizational and technical prowess and modernity of the German Reich (in the appropriation of the Berlin 1936 Olympics). Nazism, with its ideologies of the body and physical culture, was a particularly extreme form of fascism, in which the supremacist evils of Aryanism shaped the conception of the sports culture and the views of the social values and benefits of sport to both the society and the individual. J. A. Mangan's edited volume Shaping the Superman (1999) provides analysis and commentary on these issues. See also Hitler, Adolf; Owens, Jesse; Olympia; Riefenstahl, Leni; Schmeling, Maximilian Adolph Otto Siegfried.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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