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Sweat Equity: Sports and the Self-Made German

  • Erik Jensen
Part of the Studies in European Culture and History book series (SECH)

Abstract

In June 1930, the French sculptor Aristide Maillol sat poolside in Frankfurt and marveled at how much more fit and athletic German youth appeared than those back home in France. His friend and host, the German statesman Harry Kessler, explained to Maillol that “a new sense of life” had taken hold in Germany since the end of the war. “One wants to really live” Kessler continued, “to enjoy the light, sun, happiness, one’s own body.”1Two years later, when Kessler visited France, he was similarly struck by the contrast between the cultures of physical development in the two countries. Germans exuded a sense of physical liberation that, in Kessler’s estimation, their neighbors to the west noticeably lacked: “One hardly sees a sign of bourgeois stiffness [in Germany] anymore, but instead beautiful, strong bodies, naked or half-clothed. Here, by contrast, the petite bourgeois style in clothing and Sunday leisure still completely dominates.”2

Keywords

Female Athlete Competitive Sport Tennis Player Athletic Training Female Player 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Harry Graf Kessler, diary entry for June 1930 in Harry Graf Kessler: Tagebücher, 1918–1937, ed. Wolfgang Pfeiffer-Belli (Frankfurt, 1996), 661.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Stefan Zweig, “The Monotonization of the World” (1925), reprinted in The Weimar Republic Sourcebook, ed. Anton Kaes, Martin Jay, and Edward Dimendberg (Berkeley, 1994), 398.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Vicki Baum, Es war alles ganz anders (Frankfurt, 1962), 377. Fan Hong has argued that sports played a similarly emancipatory role in Republican China in the 1920s. Fan Hong, Footbinding, Feminism, and Freedom: The Liberation of Women’s Bodies in Modern China (Portland, 1997).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Walter Schönbrunn, “Körperliche Ertüchtigung,” Die Leibesübungen (1930): 415. See Arnd Krüger, Sport und Politik (Hannover, 1975); Christiane Eisenberg, “English Sports” und deutsche Bürger: Eine Gesellschaftsgeschichte 1800–1939 (Paderborn, 1999).Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Annemarie Kopp, “Emanzipation durch Sport” (1927), reprinted in Gertrud Pfister, ed., Frau und Sport (Frankfurt, 1980), 69.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Ted Kid Lewis, “Amerika gegen Europa,” Sport und Sonne (1927): 551.Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    Joe Biewer, “Heinrich Miiller: Wundersame Geschichte einer Entwicklung,” Das elegante Köln (July 2, 1929): 4.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    See Kai Marcel Sicks, “ ‘Der Querschnitt’ oder: Die Kunst des Sporttreibens” in Michael Cowan and Kai Marcel Sicks, ed., Leibhaftige Moderne: Körper in Kunst und Massenmedien, 1918 bis 1933 (Bielefeld, 2005), 45.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    On this iconic status, see David Bathrick, “Max Schmeling on the Canvas: Boxing as an Icon of Weimar Culture,” New German Critique (1990): 113–36.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    H. von Wedderkop, “Hans Breitenstrater,” Die Weltbühne (September 22, 1921): 296.Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    Christiane Eisenberg, “Massensport in der Weimarer Republik,” Archiv für Sozialgeschichte (1993): 165.Google Scholar
  12. 15.
    Hannes Bork, “Der Deutsche Teufel,” Boxsport (January 16, 1925): 24.Google Scholar
  13. 16.
    Karl Heinz Grétschel, “Sein letzter Kampf!,” Boxsport (July 14, 1926): 25.Google Scholar
  14. 33.
    Ilse Friedleben, “Deutsches Damentennis: Spaziergang unter Meisterinnen,” Sport und Sonne (1928): 83.Google Scholar
  15. 37.
    WA. Lamprecht, “Der Tennis-Berufsspieler,” Die Leibesübungen (1927): 146; Heinz Alexander, “Was verdienen Amateure?,” Der Querschnitt (1932): 410.Google Scholar
  16. 38.
    Burghard von Reznicek, Tennis: Das Spiel der Völker (Marburg, 1932), 202.Google Scholar
  17. 39.
    Burghard von Reznicek, “Kommende Cracks?,” Sport im Bild (1930): 725; Stratz, Lill, 52.Google Scholar
  18. 41.
    Beverley Nichols, “Señorita de Alvarez oder Tennis ohne Tränen,” Der Querschnitt (1928): 566; Nelly Neppach, “Was trägt man zum Tennis?,” Sport im Bild (1929): 948.Google Scholar
  19. 42.
    Rudolph Stratz, Lill: Der Roman eines Sportmädchens (Berlin, 1929): Rudolph Stratz, Lill: Der Roman eines Sportmädchens (Berlin, 1929), 52.Google Scholar
  20. 46.
    On the trope of sexual assertiveness in female tennis players at the time, see Erik Jensen, Body by Weimar: Athletes, Gender, and German Modernity (New York, 2010).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 47.
    Paula von Reznicek, Auferstehung der Dame (Stuttgart, 1928), 146.Google Scholar
  22. 48.
    H. Reinking, “Der Sport und seine Eingliederung in die körperliche Erziehung des weiblichen Geschlechts” in Die korperliche Ertüchtigung der Frau (Berlin, 1925), 95.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Alexander Williams 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik Jensen

There are no affiliations available

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