Kuper -AL

The picture’s caption in the book is ” That infamous photograph: The England Team gives the Nazi Salute before the kick off of the friendly game in Berlin, May 15, 1937″ (Kuper). In the image displayed you can see that the stadiums are quite packed which reveals that this was a important match to watch. I like to draw an analogy as to how how England team giving the Nazi Salute is similar to how today each team from different countries respectably salute the national anthem of the country they are about to play. In sports, respect and sportsmanship are two of the biggest things that are valued and the Nazi Salute , since the game was played in Germany, is the way to show it. Sports is a way for countries to put aside their political views and focus on the game itself and for the country to gain its respect through another means. It also shows how much power and respect Nazi Germany had at the time as the Great Britain also showed respect towards Nazi Germany and how no one wanted to upset Hitler or the Germans. This goes to show that no one is willing to stand up even though the Sports platform is quiet unique rather than a political platform.

I found it really interesting the way Kuper discusses the relationship in of the Ajax club in the Dutch Culture and how much of an affect it had on social life. Kuper mentions how a soccer club like Ajax created a caste system and how big of an influence of being in a soccer club had on one’s social status. Ajax , though it is a special Dutch club as it went out of its way to help Jews, it was taken over by Germans who changed their anthem to ” Heil Ajax Heil” (Kuper) ruining the club and creating a divide into those who betrayed their country by helping Germans and those who stood by the Jews. However, years later, the Club became a place where Jews and Nazis coexisted as the club was geared towards sports not based on political views. Another thing that was interesting was Kuper’s reason as to why the Dutch never resisted the Germans. He discusses as to how the center of their life is the club, work, and family life and how resisting the Germans would put all their lives in danger. This goes to show the mindset of the Dutch people as the a soccer club like Ajax comes first before saving other people in different religions and those who did support the resistance were thought to be crazy. The status

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4 thoughts on “Kuper -AL

  1. Your point about the Nazi Salute being “normal” is well taken–for 1938. A GW student last year, in fact, found a photo in the Hatchet of 1938 of the International Club at GW, with a Nazi flag on the wall–and no comment at all by the photographer or Hatchet reporter. It was just the German flag to them, at that point.

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  2. This same image struck out the most to me as well as it was horrifying seeing the England team, supposedly members of an allied nation, demonstrating the Nazi salute. It’s interesting that you mentioned how packed the stadiums are as when I first looked at this image, I didn’t pay much attention to that fact. Seeing this now helps me examine this image further; the England team doing the Nazi salute at a full stadium in Berlin exemplifies the immense power that Nazi Germany had during this time period. They were able to influence the team to display the Nazi salute in order to appeal to the crowd of Germans. Being such a dark and twisted time in history, politics influenced every aspect of society during this time, including sports, as demonstrated in this photo. All in all, this image was very unsettling to me as well and extremely significant as it amplified the power that Hitler and Nazi Germany had over Europe.

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  3. One of the single most fascinating and simultaneously unknown times in history is the interwar period. The roughly two decades between 1918 and 1939 were a tumultuous period of massive political upheaval, when the optimism of a new world clashed with the realities of global depression and right-wing political momentum. The Germany of 1937 had cloaked its true nature for years, and had not quite fully revealed itself to the world. In 1937, European countries including England were continuing to pursue a policy of appeasement, and existed in denial of the obviously expansionist aims of the Nazi party. The annexation of the Sudetenland and Austria would be tolerated, and it was not until 1939 that the democracies of Europe realized how wrong they had been. This photo demonstrates the willingness of Europeans to accept Germany’s ideology, an ignorance which would not truly be shattered for two more years.

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  4. I think you made an important connection in regards to a large portion of the Dutch bowing down to the Germans to keep intact what they value in their daily lives. In a much broader sense, this line of thinking can be seen all around the world today, but obviously not to the same extreme. Still, people buy clothes from big clothing manufacturers such as Nike, who have had a large number of labor violations levied against them throughout the years. It is common knowledge that they under pay their workers and based on their history its’ not unlikely that one of their current working operations violates some workers right. Nonetheless, people are going to continue to buy their clothes from Nike because it is easy, and customers know they are going to enjoy the product. Thus, they overlook reasons not to make the purchase. When applied to a much bigger extreme, the Dutch people found it easier to overlook the actions of the Nazi party so they could continue to live their lives how they want to. Its definitely an interesting part of the human psyche to consider, and seeing the protests in Hong Kong it makes me wonder how our society would react to something like the holocaust in todays age.

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