University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Sports, Democracy and Reeducation during the American Occupation of Germany

Toon, Wendy ORCID: (2017) Sports, Democracy and Reeducation during the American Occupation of Germany. In: The British Society of Sport History Annual Conference, 1-2 September 2017, The Arena, University of Worcester. (Unpublished)

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In the wake of World War Two American forces occupied a zone of west Germany. One of the many and varied problems that American forces faced was the question of what to do with German youth. The expectation was that this highly Nazified group, which had been indoctrinated, “educated for death”, particularly through the Hitler Youth (HJ) and the League of German Girls (BDM), held the key to Germany’s reeducation. Part of this effort was the German Youth Activities (GYA) program in which sports played a significant part. It was believed that introduction to American ‘sportsmanship’ would lead Germans by example to a more democratic way of life. As one United States Forces European Theater staffer said: ‘One of the most effective means of achieving international amity and understanding in the past has been through the medium of sports and other similar mutual activities.’1 Soldiers would be the ‘salesmen of democracy’ through American sports such as baseball, football, or basketball.2 Rather than the Nazi regime’s militarized use of sports, under the American Military Government, ‘physical education of the youth will concentrate on elements of health, hygiene and recreation which will exclude from this type of sport elements of assimilated military character.’3 This paper considers and analyses the relationship between sports, democracy, and reeducation during the American Occupation of Germany.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
D History General and Old World > DD Germany
E History America > E151 United States (General)
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Wendy Toon
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2022 14:55
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2022 09:01

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