By Anna Daniels
***Update at end of article ***
The following article appeared in the Advocate Newspaper from Burnie Australia on January 9, 1934. The football field and other sport venues have long been a politicized space. While we seldom think further back than to Tommie Smith and Juan Carlos raising a fist at the 1968 Olympics game, it should come as no surprise that the exertion of raw institutional power in sports— nationalistic as well as racialized, and I would also add gender based, is not particularly new or only an American occurrence.
FAILED TO GIVE NAZI SALUTE. German Football Club Banned For 12 Months.
The Karlsruhe Football Club has been prohibited from playing during 1934 because the team failed to give the Nazi salute when entering the field to play against a French club from Nancy at Metz in December.
The failure of the team to give the salute is alleged to be due to the Frenchmen threatening that they would not play and the Germans would receive no compensation if the salute was given because it was feared that the spectators would riot.
All sports clubs were forbidden to take part in French engagements until the incident had been settled.
“History doesn’t repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes.” (h/t Lucas O’Connor)
Update: Snopes has fact checked the original newspaper article and the assumptions deriving from it. Snopes finds the original newspaper article mostly true, the assumptions made about it less so.
However, viewers who merely glanced at this clipping may have been left with a few misconceptions. This incident took place in France, not Germany, and unlike the NFL players who knelt during the national anthem in the United States, this team was not protesting the Nazi regime. In fact, FC Karlsruhe was one of the teams who readily adhered to Nazi policies (such as expelling Jewish players) in the 1930s.
And here is the takeaway:
What is clear, however, is that Hitler’s influence over the world of sports was on the rise in the 1930s. The German Football Association was encouraging teams to expel their Jewish players; swastikas were displayed in German stadiums; and players were required to give the Hitler salute before and after games: …
Thanks to the German journalist Elizabeth Schumacher who left a comment about the article and Snopes for sparing me a morning of fact checking.