I am always fascinated when the world of sports collides with the world of politics. Thus, when Kuper addresses the Nazi salute by the “athletic representatives” of an allied nation in Chapter 8, I began to think more deeply about the thought processes of those there to witness– or create– history.
As Kuper touches on, the team could not have regarded the Nazi salute as entirely bad in 1938. To that point, their own government had been peacefully and diplomatically negotiating with the German Nazi Party, and had no reason to see them as an immediate violent threat. The concept of the Nazi salute would not have presented itself as being an entirely despicable motion to the players at the time, though it would certainly progress into just that over the majority of the next decade.
I believe that this was what Kuper meant when he continuously hinted at the failure of any one aspect of something as completely bad, or completely good. He seems to believe that the world is constantly changing, which allows the good and the bad in things to overshadow one another based on the timing. This is what most surprises me about Kuper’s readings, as the Dutch habit of erasing horrible events from their landscape contrasts with this. I believe that in order for something to be deemed worthy of expulsion, it must have already been deemed completely horrible.