STADION. International Journal of the History of Sport, Vol. 46, 2022, Issue 1


Coubertin und Hitler
Hans Joachim Teichler
pp 6–21

Based on one of Coubertin’s eulogies to Hitler of 8 May 1935, Coubertin’s admiration for Hitler, which has been negated or glossed over by research, is re-examined. A thorough evaluation of the diaries of Carl Diem (Secretary-General of the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games in Berlin 1936) shows Coubertin’s early and consistently positive interest in the “Führer”. Coubertin saw Germany as the “guardian of Olympism” and suggested “the foundation of an institute for the permanent study of the Olympic Games”, to which he bequeathed “his papers and unfinished projects”. As a result, an International Olympic Institute (IOI) was founded in Berlin on 22 April 1938, which received indirect recognition from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by publishing the Olympic Review as its official communication organ. The article concludes with Carl Diem’s attempts to use Coubertin as propaganda for the Third Reich even after his death by emphasising, among other things, “the military nature of his attitude”. – Keywords: Pierre de Coubertin; Adolf Hitler; Carl Diem; Berlin 1936; IOC; International Olympic Institute; Olympic Games.

Entangled: World Chess Champion Alexander Alekhine, Governor General Hans Frank, and the National Socialist Regime
Christian Rohrer
pp 22–50

Whether or not world chess champion Alexander Alekhine was a “Nazi” is a question that the international chess community has been asking for decades. Beyond a series of anti-Semitic articles, however, little was known about his actions and behaviour during the Second World War, and the available information has been pieced together in a disjointed and incomprehensible way. The following article demonstrates that existing information and new sources combine to form a coherent narrative when Alekhine’s actions and behaviour are understood as a dual strategy by which he sought to regain his nearly ideal life before the outbreak of the Second World War. Indeed, his life in safety among the upper echelon of society as a recognised world chess champion was at stake.

Alekhine saw an initial way out by pursuing a world championship match against José Raúl Capablanca and emigration to South America; he followed another avenue by approaching the National Socialist regime. Starting in March 1941, he chose to pursue both paths in parallel and in public view. Shortly after Capablanca’s death in March 1942, Alekhine entered into a contractual relationship with the Institute for German Eastern Work in Krakow, thanks to intervention on the part of Governor General (Generalgouverneur) Hans Frank himself. Until the fall of 1943, Alekhine essentially remained a playing chess master in the service of the Greater German Chess Federation (Großdeutscher Schachbund, GSB), which in turn was a compliant tool of the National Socialist regime. By promoting anti-Semitic propaganda in line with the regime’s position, Alekhine clearly crossed the line between chess and politics time and again. – Keywords: Chess; Alexander Alekhine; Hans Frank; Greater German Chess Federation; National Socialism.

Foreshadowing Apocalypse: Football, Politics, and Culture in Spain, 1920–36
Jim O’Brien
pp 51–73

Spanish football was a barometer for Spanish society between 1920 and 1936. It was a pivotal time for the game as it built on its foundations in the last decade of the nineteenth century to become more politicised within the fabric of Spain’s cultural identity. Critical developments within football took place during an era which began with the struggling Monarchy of Alfonso XIII, and concluded with Spain’s descent into Civil War. Football, Culture, Politics and Violence became intertwined to blemish the game’s reputation and image.

The article focusses on four key case studies; the Spanish team’s participation in the Antwerp Olympic Games of 1920; the closure, by Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship, of FC Barcelona’s Les Corts stadium in 1925; the advent of a national, professional football league in 1929; and the last season before the Civil War, 1935–36, when Spain stood on the brink of implosion. They reveal that football is inextricably linked to historically contested notions of Spanish history and political culture, and is a vehicle for the complex representations of alternative nationalisms which lie at the core of Spain’s centre-region dichotomy. The approach of the study is inter-disciplinary, drawing from literature, the arts, history and political ideology to elucidate the complex constructions and representations of the game during a period of seismic change. – Keywords: Football; Spain; Politics; History; Violence; Culture; Identity; Representation.

The Swiss Connection: Football, Migration, and Kosovar Diaspora Nation-Building
Fabian Brändle, Christian Koller
pp 74–90

Departing from the “double-eagle affair” at the World Cup 2018, this article analyses several dimensions of the “Swiss connection” between football, migration and Kosovar diaspora nation-building in the early 21st century. After a massive influx of Kosovar refugees during the 1990s, the Kosovar community in Switzerland included around 200.000 people in the early 21st century. Some of them founded migrant football clubs, and a number of players with Kosovar roots even pursued international careers as professionals. Two of them, Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, caused quite a stir when celebrating their goals as Swiss national players against Serbia at the 2018 World Cup with the hand gesture of the Albanian double-eagle. Yet, the Kosovar “Swiss connection” in football has several other dimensions: The admission of Kosovo to FIFA and UEFA wasn’t only supported by the Swiss Football Association (and indirectly by the Swiss government’s favourable stance regarding Kosovar independence), but even more so by Swiss national players with Kosovar roots. The newly established national team of Kosovo profited from players brought up in Switzerland as well as a Swiss coach, whilst on the other hand several key players of the Swiss national team of the early 21st century were of Kosovar extraction. This, together with the good performance of immigrant teams such as FC Kosova Zurich helped to change the hitherto rather negative image of Kosovar migrants in Swiss society, whilst at the same time initiating processes of self-reflection about Switzerland’s quality as a multicultural immigrant society. – Keywords: Migration; Kosovo; Switzerland; Nation-Building; Serbia; Football.


Getting on the Good Foot and Showing True Colors: Football, Diversity, and Nation-Building in France and Germany, 1950–2018
Pierre Weiss, Jean Christophe Meyer
pp 91–109

In Germany and France, football federations and clubs have now affirmed for decades their determination to fight racism and social or ethnic discrimination. Doing so, they persistently proclaim their faith in football’s integrative virtues, in its capacity to transform diversity into a force and its considerable contribution to nation-building. Yet, for most sports historians and sociologists, the number of studies required to draw robust conclusions on such a complex issue has not been produced yet.

The present paper aims to question a few prevailing representations and sheds light on the advantages of a French-German comparative socio-historical approach considering a chronogical period going from 1950 to 2018. Its initial part is dedicated to a necessary liminary step: the definition of a conceptual tool-box. Then, it will focus on professional football. This is certainly the aspect of football retaining most of the attention of both the general public and the scholars when refering to the neighboring country. The final part of this article breaks down specific participation modalities of ethnic and national minorities in the system of football as a popular leisure sport in France and Germany. It thus explores to what extent one may mention a crucial influence of national integration and citizenship models in this context. – Keywords: Soccer; Nation-Building; Diversity; Migration; France; Germany; Comparative socio-history.

Entscheidungsautoritäten und elementare Akteure des „Weltsports“: Pfade einer Kulturgeschichte der Schiedsrichter
Kristoffer Klammer
pp 110–133

These days, referees and umpires are considered to be indispensable protagonists in modern sport. But despite their crucial significance for sport, historical scholarship has so far hardly considered their history. This article demonstrates why it is worth dealing with the cultural history of referees and umpires, in what ways this can be done, and what insights such an approach potentially offers. Empirically, the article focuses on football and tennis, while advocating the combination of questions of the history of sports with those pertaining to general history. It suggests several paths of investigation for this purpose. One finding is that the history of referees and umpires provides insights into the emergence and development of a decision-making authority in modern societies. Here, different forms and variants of the circulation of knowledge and processes of globalisation can be highlighted. In the second part, the article examines an important building block of this story. Here, the formation and entrenchment of international refereeing courses in football between 1948 and the mid-1970s will bring together the article’s programmatic objectives and empirical observations. It will trace which actors led the charge in establishing the courses, how they fostered the global dissemination and standardization of refereeing knowledge, and to what extent they contributed to expanding the boundaries of world football as a global arena of competitive comparison. – Keywords: Referees; Umpires; Decision Making; Sports Culture Transfer; Authority; Globalization; Football; Tennis.


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Michaël Attali et Jean Saint Martin, L’éducation physique de 1945 à nos jours : Les étapes d’une démocratisation, Paris : Armand Colin, 4e éd., 2021 (Sylvain Villaret)
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Stephan Klemm, Die Nacht von Sevilla ’82: Ein deutschfranzösisches Fußballdrama, Kellinghusen: Eriks Buchregal, 2021 (Albrecht Sonntag)
Fritz Auer, Ein Zeltdach für München: Fritz Auer erinnert sich an die Entstehung des Olympiaparks, München: Allitera, 2022; Markus Brauckmann und Gregor Schöllgen, München 72: Ein deutscher Sommer, München: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 2022; Roman Deininger und Markus Ritzer, Die Spiele des Jahrhunderts: Olympia 1972, der Terror und das neue Deutschland, München: dtv, 2021; Sven Felix Kellerhoff, Anschlag auf Olympia: Was 1972 in München wirklich geschah, Darmstadt: wbg Theiss, 2022; Andreas Koll, Karl Valentin: Olympia 1972, München: Allitera, 2022; Karl Stankiewitz, München 1972: Wie Olympia eine Stadt veränderte, München: Allitera, 2021 (Andreas Höfer)
San Charles Haddad, The File: Origins of the Munich Massacre, New York und Nashville: Post Hill Press, 2020 (Manfred Lämmer)

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