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Reversing the Influence: Anglo-German Relations and British Fitness Policies in the 1930s

Abstract : In ‘inventing’ and exporting modern sports to the world, the British influenced innumerable people. However, by the inter-war period, there was a general anxiety regarding British decline. The reasons were threefold. First, British health and fitness experts underlined the low physical standards of their people. Second, it became evident that Britain's leading position in international sport was under threat. Third, the fascist states seemed to be doing particularly well in this area. How could the British Empire last without strong men to defend it? Perhaps part of the solution might be found overseas in just the place where the present ‘danger’ came from. This paper studies this reversed influence and shows how German influence affected British fitness policies in the 1930s. In a period marked by appeasement, sports meetings, official visits and a large amount of cultural propaganda resulted in the sharing of British and German experiences. However, the attitude of the British was complex and their determination to go their own way limited the effectiveness of German influence. By the time the war broke out, the British had distanced themselves from German organization and values once again. The brief flirtation with fascist forms of physical culture was over
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Daphné Bolz. Reversing the Influence: Anglo-German Relations and British Fitness Policies in the 1930s. Sport in History, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2014, 34 (4), pp.569 - 594. ⟨10.1080/17460263.2014.952325⟩. ⟨hal-01877973⟩



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