The Changing State of (Female) Play: Expansion, Continuities, and Rebuilding in Women and Girls’ Sport in Nazi and Occupied Germany, 1933-1949

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University of Guelph

This thesis explores the changes in German women and girls’ sport in Nazi and Occupied Germany from 1933 to 1949. Rather than a period of suppression, this thesis argues that the era of National Socialism was one of expansion and continuity of German female athleticism, and that women took those tools into the postwar era of foreign occupation and used them as a basis of German rebuilding. Through the Nazi youth organization, the League of German Girls, multiple Nazi sport initiatives for women, and the incorporation of female Olympic athletes into Nazi propaganda, female participation in, and leadership of, sport expanded under National Socialism. After the Second World War, women continued to practice and organize sport as a means of rebuilding German society under foreign occupation, resulting in women’s sport becoming a normalized, and often celebrated, part of postwar German culture and identity

Women's Sport, Nazi Germany, Occupied Germany, National Socialism, Postwar Germany, Female Athleticism, German Rebuilding, Sport History, Women's History, Modern German History