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Sports Policy, the Press and the Origins of the Cold War in Occupied Germany, 1945–51

Abstract : This article, which is based on original archival and press research, examines the origins of the Cold War from the perspective of sport in the post-war occupied zones of Germany. Both the western Allies and Soviet communist victors claimed that they wished to use sport to help establish ‘democracy’ in Germany. However, their conceptions of ‘democracy’ were diametrically opposed and each side used the sporting press to caricature and criticise the other. In the Soviet zone, sports reporting portrayed the West as elitist, professional in their ‘Taylorist’ methods and nationalist in outlook. Reversing their former hostility to the Olympic movement, the Soviet-controlled German sports press argued that only socialist sport could deliver true amateur ‘Olympic’ sport by democratising athletics for the masses. The occupying Allied powers made up of Britain, France and the United States were united in their rejection of unproven claims of Soviet superiority and denounced the ‘undemocratic’ controls imposed by the Soviets across Eastern Europe. The holding of the Olympic Games in London in the summer of 1948 as Cold War tensions increased provides a focus for these divergent views, throwing new light on the political role of the reporting of sport and of the sporting press in post-war Germany.
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 3:23:06 PM
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Daphné Bolz. Sports Policy, the Press and the Origins of the Cold War in Occupied Germany, 1945–51. Sport in History, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2015, 35 (2), pp.195 - 216. ⟨10.1080/17460263.2015.1010224⟩. ⟨hal-01877971⟩



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