Ajax Reflection AM

The photograph that stood out to me the most was the one of the England team giving the Nazi salute before the kick-off in Berlin.This image is so startling to me because it’s a large group of English athletes, who were supposed to be completely disaffiliated from Hitler and the Nazis, demonstrating the Nazi salute. Kuper writes, “From the day the Nazis seized power they had begun swallowing all of German society” (233). This depicts how the voices of the public may have been diminished by how prominent the Nazi influence was during that time period. Since the game was in Berlin, the English team demonstrating the Nazi salute was most likely an attempt to gain a positive response from the crowd, showing that too they are supporting the German government. The implication and significance of this symbol is so immense, especially if it is being performed by such a large institution, as it is a symbol that stands for pure hatred, discrimination, and intolerance. The players were not able to speak for themselves as I’d hope that each of the individuals on the England team did not believe in the horrific Nazi ideals. Knowing this makes this photo even more horrifying and tragic, as it shows the power that the government possessed at that time. When reflecting back on my previous knowledge of World War 2 and the monstrosities committed by Hitler and the Nazi party, it horrifies me thinking about how strong of an impact the government had as it forced the members of the England team to exhibit an appalling symbol purely for the purpose of the political gain of the Nazi party. This harrowing photo holds a lot of significance as it shows the dreadful things that people in positions of power are capable of doing and its gruesome impacts on society.

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2 thoughts on “Ajax Reflection AM

  1. This is a really important perspective–the power of the English government in this case, in its interest in appeasing Hitler and the German government and German crowd, to force the actions of these players. I now see the photo differently; I now “see” some sort of looming invisible force surrounding these players, who each in their own head is thinking wildly different thoughts, still unknown to us, but which we can guess played out across a spectrum of human thought, emotion, politics, and etiquette.

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  2. You make very interesting points here. I agree with your statement that seeing the athletic representatives of an allied nation do the Nazi salute is unsettling. However, I slightly disagree with the assumption that the English team was doing the Nazi salute to gain a positive reaction from the crowd. Rather, I believe that the English team was displaying their gratitude for the hospitality of the German people. The method by which they do this displayed a great deal of ignorance about German politics, and thus the consequences on the world in general, and therefore appeared as such a despicable act when viewed from a modern eye. A recurring feeling throughout Kuper’s readings is that few things are ever completely good, or completely bad. Thus, when applying Kuper’s readings onto the subject at hand, we can view the salute of the English national team as ignorant rather than evil.

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