The Introduction of Soccer into German Society

Saturday, September 23, 2017 - 1:30pm

Location:University of Dallas

Haggerty Art Village Auditorium (Movie)  Haggerty Art Village Vestibule (Reception Area) 1845 E. Northgate Drive | Irving, TX 75062-4736

To most Germans today soccer is a truly German game.

Very few Germans recognize that soccer came to Germany only at the beginning of the 1870s as part of the school reform movement. Teachers such as Konrad Koch (Braunschweig) championed the introduction of this game into high school curricula to break free from instruction that furthered conformity and subordination.

Soccer was to entice students to learn fair play, team work, and to accept rules that were not imposed upon students by teachers but by the game itself. This games, thus, introduced students from middle- and upper-class backgrounds to the rules of a capitalist economy. As such the game faced significant resistance from the entrenched aristocratic and land-owning elites of Germany. These elites saw soccer as an attack on their established order. And since the game had originated at English public schools, it did also not fare well within the increasingly hostile culture of Wilhelmine Germany that engaged in a large-scale armament race with the United Kingdom (naval race). Soccer, thus, was portrayed as treasonous and un-German by the established elites and it took Konrad Koch and his sympathizers several decades to establish the game of soccer in mainstream German culture.

At the eve of World War I, Germans of all ages and all social backgrounds had finally turned into soccer-crazed players and soccer had become a major cultural phenomenon.

Lecture will start at 1:30pm, followed by a short reception. The movie will start at 2:45pm

Speaker: Dr. Thomas Adam, Professor of Transnational History at University of Texas at Arlington and Founding Editor of the Yearbook of Transnational History . Website:

Film: Der ganz grosse Traum - Lessons of a dream. German with English subtitles. Regie Sebastian Grobler, 113 minutes. For more information please visit this site.

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