In Germany of Adolph Hitler, football did not achieve to bring successes which proved the supremacy of German people as the Aryan race. The German national team in football did not achieve to gain any international tournament during the Third Reich’s era. Football was proved inadequate in the promotion and demonstration of racial superiority of Germans. Probably one of the reasons that Nazi Germany failed in international tournaments was the intense interest of Adolph Hitler in individual sports like boxing which was sport that develop physical aggressiveness and toughen the human body. Thus Hitler gave more emphasis in individual sports because his belief that the Germans could grow up with the ideals of National-Socialism via individual physical programs that strengthen the human body. In Berlin Olympics of 1936, the German athletes won the most gold medals something that proved the great physical condition of Aryans. The Nazis established the German Reich’s Committee for Physical Exercises in 1934 in order to promote the strategic plan for the Reich’s sport. The Reich’s sport should to project the great physical condition of German athletes. So Football as sport failed to prove to the other nations the Aryan race supremacy, so the Nazis turned their attention in other sports through which they were able to prove their dominance as nation and prepare the nation for the Second World War. Also the exclusion of Jews from any sport activity was a significant point during the Nazis era as well as that after the annexation of Austria in Germany; the Austrian athletes became athletes of the Great Germany and members of Aryan sport.
A Spanish club that has the motto “more than a club”, like the FC Barcelona, is the Basque club Athletic de Bilbao. It is in the similar position to FC Barcelona if we take into consideration what is the role of club in Basque country. After the end of the Second World War the Basque Country’s resistance became more intense with the creation of ETA, the extreme movement of the Basques which had as a goal until today the separation from the central authority of Madrid and full independence of the Basque country. Athletic de Bilbao constitutes a symbol for the Basque country until today and the club goes against the modern era of football maintaining its traditions during all of these years. Players of the club are only locals; the club’ shirts are without any foreign sponsor and accept are only local sponsors. The Basques always had followed this strict policy and philosophy since 1919. Via this policy, the club had as a purpose the creation of local heroes and players who would become representatives of the Basque community and identity. Athletic de Bilbao is representative of Basque region and promotes the Basque identity and not the Spanish. It could be characterized as territorialized club and the whole philosophy based on the belief that the football club must represent its local community. This policy applied only in the case of players not for coaches. (The other Basque subversives: Athletic de Bilbao vs. the new age of soccer, Castillo, J.C., p.711-714, Sport in Society Vol. 11, No. 6, November 2008, 711–721)
Athletic de Bilbao made Basque people to feel very proud in the early 1930’s when the club was the most successful team in Spain. After the Spanish civil war when General Franco took the power in Spain and attempting to make Spain a more united nation, regional nationalism within Spanish territory became suppressed and desires for autonomy of Basque people were actively clamped down on. The club is symbol of Basque nationalism and is very important to report the fact that is the unique club that all its players have Basque origin. The entire structure of club promotes the Basque Nationalism interior and exterior. This nationalist understanding has two dimensions: the first is the attitudes towards interior of the club, meaning that the whole club’s architecture, players, coaches and fans accepted this world view. The second is the attitudes towards the exterior, meaning the promotion of Basque autonomy in all over the world. The club has as a rule that at least one parent of player should be Basque. The foreign players are not permitted. Athletic Bilbao when beat other Spanish teams, especially Real Madrid it seems like victory of the Basque nation over Madrid and those who support the idea of more united Spanish nation. The club promotes the youth development and became one of the most productive developers of young players throughout Spain. So the players have symbolic character for Bilbao fans. Focusing on youth development is immediately connected with the Basque nationalism because the production of exclusively Basque football talents was a proof of their nationalist principles and what was the role of Athletic Bilbao in the Basque Country. For the fans of Athletic Bilbao, the club is original “more than a club”, representative of a single nation, the Basque nation and enjoys respect from the whole of the Basque people throughout that region. The club can be considered as source of collective identification and expression of local community for the Basques followers of it. The Basques also do campaigns with the slogan ‘Buy Fresh, Buy Local’ promoting the use of local resources. But generally that does not apply only in the case of market but in the case of anything local as well. The Basques as in football they promote anything local in an attempt to project the Basque ethnic origin. (The concept of loyalty and the challenge of internationalisation in post-modern Spanish Football, Castillo J.C., p.26, International Journal of Iberian Studies Volume 20 Number 1 © 2007 Intellect Ltd, Article. English language. doi: 10.1386/ijis.20.1.23/1, Play Fresh, Play Local: The Case of Athletic de Bilbao, Castillo J.C., Sport in Society, Vol. 10, No. 4, July 2007, pp. 680–697)
The motto “more than a club” until nowadays makes the supporters of FC Barcelona very proud for their Catalan origin, the history and titles but also for the struggle against the Franco’s tyranny. The club constitutes a vehicle for Catalan nationalism, focusing on the spread of the local unity and identity sense in times of persecution under Franco. Also the club pursued to show their Catalan nationalism via tournaments in international level. Until today the rivalry between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona has political character and not football character. These two clubs are representatives of two different political ideologies and their rivalry passed on football. In one hand FC Barcelona is representative of separation and resistance against Franco and in the other hand Real Madrid is representative of the single Spanish nation, single Spanish language and has the label of Franco’s team. Their different ideological views passed on football stadiums where the victory of one club against the other equals with superiority and pride. Match between these two clubs constitute the classic match of Spanish football not only because of their political rivalry but also because that these two clubs always had some of the best players in the world. Phil Ball in his book “White Storm: 101 years of Real Madrid” does not mention the dark relationship of Real Madrid and its president Santiago Bernabéu with Franco’s regime as probably mentioned in other books and articles in sport magazines like those of “Identity, nation-state and football in Spain. The evolution of nationalist feelings in Spanish football” and in Sport & Society magazine by Ramón Llopis Goig.
The motto “more than a club” makes also the supporters of Athletic de Bilbao very proud for their Basque identity. Athletic de Bilbao promotes the Basque football and the Basque nationalism in interior and in European Cups. Spain we can say that is the state of regional representation and not the national in International competitions. Spanish football is football of regional nationalism because of the fact that Spanish football clubs are symbols of their region and symbols of struggle for independence.
The total presence of the Spanish national team abroad indicated their national image. Spain’s victories were at the same time victories of Franco and glory from the football victories strengthened the political regime of Spain. Success in football in national level disorientated the population from the problems of society. Football as mass sport was able to make known the military regime’s ideology and beliefs. Franco as leader of the military regime wanted a powerful national team included players who would be able to make pride the Spanish people and their leader. General Franco promoted fascist values in the national team. Mass media which were under the control of Franco’s regime adopted a patriotic discourse, in order to promote the Spanish national team. The Spanish international players changed their red shirts with blue and they were asked to line up to salute the fascist way and sing fascist songs. National team failed to gain the title of regime’s ambassador and failed during the Franco’s era to qualify in the World Cups of 1954, 1958, 1970, and 1974 and did not manage a good run in the 1962 and 1966 Cups. The Spanish international players failed to follow Real Madrid’s successes and as a result Real Madrid had taken the role of national team and at extension
the role of representative of Franco’s regime in international level. The successes of Real Madrid increased the prestige of Franco and his regime. (Identity, nation-state and football in Spain. The evolution of nationalist feelings in Spanish football, Goig R.L., p.59-60, Soccer & Society, Vol. 9, No. 1, January 2008, 56–63)
Real Madrid had during Franco’s period the role of the ambassador and the team of the regime. But however some people supported that Real Madrid was victim of Franco. Real Madrid considered as the regime’s team by the view of the close relationship between Real’s president Santiago Bernabéu and Franco’s regime. Bernabéu was president from 1943 until his death in 1978 and during these years was supporter of Franco. At the same time without proved that is true, it is likely that most of the club’s fans were supporters of Franco. Because of the supporting of Franco and most of his ministers towards Real Madrid, Santiago Bernabéu was feeling proud. When the club gained five possessed trophies in European Champions Cup from the season 1955-56 until 1959-60, Real’s president was feeling proud for the role of the regime’s ambassador as well. (Identity, nation-state and football in Spain. The evolution of nationalist feelings in Spanish football, Goig R.L., p.59-60, Soccer & Society, Vol. 9, No. 1, January 2008, 56–63)
Franco’s vision was the creation of single Spanish identity, one and unique national voice in abroad. Franco was opposite in the projection of the Spanish diversity such as Catalans, Basques, Andalusians etc. The Spanish military regime wanted the rise of nationalism and not the regional nationalism. Projection of the regional nationalism abroad was against the Spanish national image. The projection of united Spanish nation was the ideal scenario for the Franco’s regime. Real Madrid’s president Santiago Bernabéu was supporter of the Franco’s philosophy, and he believed that his team was the representative not only of Madrid but of the whole Spain in European Champions Cup. The five possessed European titles for Franco were proof that the Spanish nation had the superiority in European football between the seasons 1955-56 and 1959-60. The arrival of the great Argentine
player Alfredo di Stefano in 1953 contributed in this golden period for Real Madrid. Di Stefano was at the time playing on loan for Colombian Millonarios de Bogotá but officially registered with Argentine club River Plate. Then FC Barcelona had signed Di Stefano from River Plate but the Spanish Football Association according to Barcelona, stopped the transfer claiming he was Millonarios player. Then Real Madrid involved and negotiated his transfer with Millonarios. After this confusion the Spanish Football Association made an unusual decision. Di Stefano was instructed to play alternative seasons for Real Madrid and Barcelona. Then Barcelona was very angry with this, declined this offer and withdrew from the deal. This important transfer was another proof of the intervention of Franco’s regime in Spanish football and especially was another proof of the close relationship with Real Madrid. Club’s successes made according to Franco proud the Spanish people but also the regime itself. As the best ambassador of Spain during this period, military regime of Franco used Real Madrid for the promotion of regime’s propaganda abroad. Often Franco followed Real Madrid in its matches with other regime’s dignitaries. Franco and the state’s political system benefited from the club’s prestige and glory during these years. (Football Nationality and the State, Duke V., Crolley L., p.34-39)
When the civil war (1936-1939) began in Spain, the Catalans started to demand recognition of their ethnicity, as well as their language, culture and history. The Catalans wanted at the beginning to achieve wide and extensive autonomy but later they demanded the establishment of Catalan state in the framework of Federal Spain. Against the single national image was FC Barcelona, representative of the Catalan nationalism. The Catalans were in favor of the regional image and not national image. They believed that each region in Spain should maintain its own customs, flags and languages. On 26th January of 1939, Franco’s soldiers entered the city of Barcelona. Later, the Catalan club was placed under fascist management after the Franco’s dignitaries applied the policy, which foresaw that the administration of Spanish football should be taken under the control of Franco’s officers. During the Franco’s regime, FC Barcelona had some restrictions such was the ban on the use of the Catalan flag in the stadium, the registration with the police of all membership files, and the obligatory use of the Spanish language in the club’s announcements. Another measure of Franco towards FC Barcelona, was that the four red bars of the Catalan flag on the coat of arms were reduced to two. By this measure, the Catalan colours were absorbed into those of the new Spanish state. The football stadium of FC Barcelona was the only place that the Franco’s regime didn’t prohibit the entrance to the Catalans. As a result the club and Nuevo Campo stadium became places of resistance against the dictatorship. In Catalonia developed intense resistance against Franco’s regime and the Catalans became members of left parties and Communist movements. (Barca: a people’s passion, Burns J., p. 97-105,122-128).
Barcelona was against the policy of Franco’s regime, which had as an aim the establishment of single Spanish identity and single Spanish nation. The club was representative of the Catalan nationalism and representative of the Catalans’ political stance for independence of Catalonia from the Spanish state. The former manager of FC Barcelona Louis Van Gaal recognized the club’s political side and what the club represents than the rest of Spain. It is a club that exists not just to play football that’s why the Catalans put the motto “more than a club”. (Spanish Identities in the European Press: The Case of Football Writing, Hand D., Crolley L., p.307, The International Journal of the History of Sport Vol. 22, No. 2, March 2005, 298 – 313, Building a Mass Activity: Fandom, Class and Business in Early Spanish Football, McFarland A., p.216, Soccer & Society Vol. 8, No. 2/3, April/July 2007, pp. 205–220)
During Franco’s era football was representing by the clubs in championships organized on a regional basis. In 1936 championships took place in Catalonia, Levante and Galicia and in 1937 were carried out the Mediterranean league involving Catalan-speaking areas. During this period we didn’t have participation of the Spanish national team in any competition abroad but we had the participation of ‘national’ teams of the Basques and Catalans. In summer of 1937 Barcelona participated in international tournaments of Mexico and New York. Also in 1937 the Basques created team that they called ‘Basque Republic’ which went to play in Eastern Europe and Latin America in order to promote their regional propaganda for the prestige and projection of the Basque country as autonomous region. FIFA, the international football federation were banned them and the regime’s press condemned them as traitors. The football campaign of Athletic de Bilbao abroad with the goal to promote Basque nationalism and positive image for the Basque region led to the loss of respect by the rest of Spain. After these Basque and Catalan tours some other Spanish created the Spanish national side in order to face the propaganda of the Basque and Catalan nationalists via football tours. From both nationalist sides some players send to the exile and they were died. (Football Nationality and the State, Duke V., Crolley L., p.31-32).
During the 19th century regions of Spain had already tendencies of separation from the central power of Madrid. In this century revolutionary movements fought against the central power with final goal the autonomy of their regions. Madrid’s monarchy as the Catholic Church prevented any effort towards democratization and autonomy of the Spanish regions. At the beginning of 20th century, ethnic groups reappeared with their particular characteristics such as Catalans, Castilians, and Basques. The conflict between Madrid and the regions and the reappearance of regional ethnic identity led to separated tendencies and towards the dramatic civil war of 1936-1939. (Europe in the twentieth century, Paxton R.O., p.372-374, Fascism, Tames R., p.34-37)
Spain almost never controlled by democratic government but by military regimes that were imposed by “saviors” with a view to lead the nation towards glorious days. Democratic regime was established before the start of the civil war but however Democracy faced a lot of problems and military officers wanted to destroy it. Catholic Church, army and the class of landowners dominated a nation of poor farmers. The continuous political instability, conflicts and violence between Right party and communists as well as the tendencies for autonomy from Catalans and Basques led to the civil war from 1936 until 1939. It was war between the Spanish Nationalists under the guidance of the military general Francisco Franco Bahamonde and Democratic Spanish Forces under the guidance of the president of 2nd Spanish Democracy Manuel Azaña. In one hand the Spanish Nationalists supported by the Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy and in the other hand the Democratic Spanish Forces supported by Soviet Union. The side of Franco won after terrible murders of innocent people and armed forces of legal government. Franco established military regime in the new Spanish state and also he was recognized as head of state, supreme head of armed forces and dictator of Spain as well. (Europe in the twentieth century, Paxton R.O., p.372-374, Fascism, Tames R., p.34-37)
In Spain, political divisions and local nationalism among the regions during the civil war, had reflection in football. Barcelona and Athletic de Bilbao became synonymous with history of their regions Catalonia and Basque country. They were representatives of autonomy and the nationalist aspirations of their regions. After the victory of Franco in the civil war he started a process for nationalization of Spanish football, which had the goal of the projection of national team’s image. The Spanish Football Association and the ministry of Sport were placed under absolute military control. The Football Association was under the administration of the colonel, Troncoso, and the Minister for Sport was a general, Moscardό. (Football Nationality and the State, Duke V., Crolley L., p.30, Identity, nation-state and football in Spain. The evolution of nationalist feelings in Spanish football, Goig R.L., p.57, Soccer & Society Vol. 9, No. 1, January 2008, 56–63).
The leader of the Spanish Football Association colonel Troncoso gave a political motivation to the Spanish players during the civil war in order to continue to play. During the summer of 1939 the colonel said that sport constitutes the necessary way through which the country has the ability to improve its men and have them suitably prepared for action at any time they maybe needed. So football put under the exploitation of Franco’s regime in order to keep men prepared for military action. Through sports and especially football, players would be maintained in excellent physical situation in the case when the armed forces called them to fight. (Football Nationality and the State, Duke V., Crolley L., p.30).
The Olympic football tournament in 1936 was proving that via football the German superiority did not appear. Germany lost 2-0 by Norway in the second round in the presence of Hitler and other key members of the Nazi regime. It was a major embarrassment for the Nazis and hurt for their prestige and obviously diminished football’s role as a propaganda tool. Without success in football Nazi regime could not do successful propaganda. This failure of national team in Berlin Olympics of 1936 led regime and Hitler to not sympathize anymore this sport. For Hitler was the first presence in football match, however the national team could not correspond in the Nazis and Hitler’s expectations. (The Hidden Social and Political History of the German Football Association (DFB), 1900-50, Udo Merkel, p.184, Soccer and Society, Vol.1, No.2 (Summer 2000), pp.167-186)
In 1936 also an interesting friendly match was that between Germany and Spain, two states that had ideological “kinship” because of their common fascist beliefs. When the German national team visited Spain, the Spanish were not so enthusiastic with the Germans because of their propagandistic objectives. This visiting was another attempt by the Germans to promote the Nazism or National-Socialism abroad. If the Germans would salute with their own particular way, was something that would worry the Spanish people. (Deutschland über Alles: discrimination in German football, p.756, Soccer & Society, Vol. 10, No. 6, November 2009, 754–765)
In 1930’s the rise of fascism in European continent alarmed the Liberal Republics of Western Europe mainly France and England that saw their interests be threatened. Especially when Adolph Hitler and the National Socialists came to power the interests of western Liberal democracies were threatened because of the expansionist policy of the German chancellor and then dictator towards certain lands with strong German minority. This conflict between Liberal Democracy and National-Socialism could come out in the surface and via sport events. For instance football victory of Nazi Germany against any Democratic state meant victory of National Socialism against Democracy. Such football rivalry was that between Germany and England in 1935. Two years before the British saw the rise of another fascist regime in Europe and this friendly match considered as an attempt by Germans to promote the Nazi propaganda via football. Football matches between the two countries in 1930s reflected also their relations in political level. On December of 1935 England’s soccer team won 3 – 0 at White Hart Lane after the match of 1930 in Berlin where the two nations had brought draw 3-3. This place in home of Tottenham Hotspurs was an area of Jewish population and Tottenham had some Jewish players in its roster and many Jewish supporters as well. English victory had no so much importance because they could not achieve to win the propaganda war against the Nazis. The reason probably was that in political level, Britain had unsuccessful role in shaping of policy which would face the rise of fascism in Europe and especially in Italy and Germany. During the Fascism era in Europe the British still considered themselves as the supreme football nation but they did not connect football with politics and national identity as the Nazis. The supremacy and successes in football were not identified with ideology and government as it happened in the fascist regimes. The British could not follow this powerful interconnection of sports with politics as the fascist regimes. This interconnection was necessary for the Fascists in order to apply the regime’s propaganda to the masses. (Sport, Cultural Politics and International Relations: England versus Germany, 1935, Brian Stoddart, p.30-36, Soccer and Society, Vol. 7, No. 1, January 2006, pp. 29–50)
The rise of National-Socialist party in Germany established a new era for German society. The Germans as Aryan race should promote single national identity and via sports. The creation of Third Reich’s athletic spirit was one of the Nazi’s goals during their governance. Extreme Nationalism and Antisemitism constituted elements of the Nazi Sport policy. The application of masses propaganda within football stadiums would create a strong sense of Aryan race. The German superiority could be promoted and via football successes in international level. In the framework of their extreme nationalist and racist policy, the Nazis excluded the Jews from any public activity including sports in order to create homogeneous national or Aryan society. In 1933 when the National-Socialists took the power they put German Football Association under their absolute control. In the sports magazine “kicker” which had as a founder the Jewish Walther Bensemann they announced that all German football clubs as Aryans should to expel their Jewish stuff. (Deutschland über Alles: discrimination in German football, p.755, Soccer & Society, Vol. 10, No. 6, November 2009, 754–765)
So the intervention of the Nazis in football was necessary in order to ‘clean’ this sport from the Jews and protects the “German blood and honour” based on Nuremberg Laws. (The Hidden Social and Political History of the German Football Association (DFB), 1900-50, Udo Merkel, p.181, Soccer and Society, Vol.1, No.2 (Summer 2000), pp.167-186) After the rise of Hitler in power the German Football Federation became Assistant of regime in exclusion from 1933 of all people who did not belong to the Aryan Race included players, sponsors, club owners and journalists. Some German Jews had key positions in German football during the National-Socialists’ governance. Such Jews were the national team’s player Julius Hirsch and Bayern Munich’s president Kurt Landauer. The first one died when he led to the Nazi concentration camps and the second one was removed from his position as president because of his Jewish origin. (Deutschland über Alles: discrimination in German football, p.755, Soccer & Society, Vol. 10, No. 6, November 2009, 754–765, Gillmeister, Heiner (2000)’The tale of Little Franz and Big Franz: the foundation of Bayern Munich FC’, p.98, Soccer & Society, 1:2, 80 — 106) The founders of Bayern Munich, one of the most successful teams in German and European football were no Bavarians. An important fact was that some of them were Jews and some others were Saxons, Hanseatics and Prussians. So the Jews played a significant role in the foundation of the Munich’s historical team. (Gillmeister, Heiner (2000)’The tale of Little Franz and Big Franz: the foundation of Bayern Munich FC’, p.81, Soccer & Society, 1:2, 80 — 106)
The exclusion of Jews in sports was included more widely in the extent of the Nazi anti-Semitic policy for absolute extermination of Jews from any social activity overlooking the fact that the Jews contributed significantly in the development of German sports. Jews were the people that had important role in the foundation of German sports clubs something that indicates the contribution of Jews in German society. After the end of the First World War the Nazis accused the Jews that they had share of responsibility for the defeat of country but however their contribution in the German society was very important. Especially after the end of the First World War, the Jews put under their control a big part of the German economy and as extent the sports activities. Because of this fact the Nazis applied successfully their anti-Semitic propaganda within German people. They tried to convince the German people that the national economy was in foreign hands. (Gillmeister, Heiner (2000)’The tale of Little Franz and Big Franz: the foundation of Bayern Munich FC’, p.80, Soccer & Society, 1:2, 80 — 106)
Football clubs should always prove their Aryan origin and they had key role in the establishment of Third Reich. As in Mussolini’s Fascist Italy, Hitler gave emphasis to youth education for creation of single national identity. The young members of clubs selected to become members of the Nazi Youth in order to gain education by the National-Socialist Party. Football clubs in Germany had the duty to contribute in the creation of the Third Reich’s Empire. The plans for application of masses propaganda and the attempt to transform football into efficient propaganda was interrupted when the Second World War started after the German military forces invited in Poland in September of 1939. (Deutschland über Alles: discrimination in German football, p.755, Soccer & Society, Vol. 10, No. 6, November 2009, 754–765)
Also Jewish people, who were communists and members of the Marxist movement, were unacceptable in any leading positions in organizations and clubs. The Jewish football players of Austria after the annexation in Germany excluded from any sport activity. All Jewish teams and clubs in Austria stopped to exist and administrators replaced by ‘Aryans’. Others were killed and some were emigrated in order to save themselves from the Nazi tyranny. (The Hidden Social and Political History of the German Football Association (DFB), 1900-50, Udo Merkel, p.184-185, Soccer and Society, Vol.1, No.2 (Summer 2000), pp.167-186)
During the years of National-Socialism from 1938 to 1945, Jews of Austria were banned as well from any public sport activity and they had played only within concentration camps. After the annexation, Austria included by Nazis in the establishing of the “National-Socialist” football with emphasis on physical and moral exercise of Aryan race. The Nazis also had as objective the expansion of race consciousness among the Austrian football clubs. Young athletes of football clubs had as trainer the Hitler Youth in order to become the ideal Aryans in the future. After Anschluss, the Nazis turned immediately against the Jews of Austria. On March of 1938, when Austria became territory of the Third Reich, all Jewish sport clubs were banned from any sport activity and as a result Jewish managers and players left the country. Football club Austria Vienna temporarily closed because Jews affected in particular this club and the Nazis subsequently put the club under provisional administration. (Between Manipulation and Resistance: Viennese Football in the Nazi Era, Matthias Marschik, p.218-220, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 34, No. 2 (Apr., 1999), 215-229)