To what extent was the GDR’s emphasis on mass sport overshadowed by its ultimate desire for diplomatic recognition and legitimacy?

Sornsen, Helen (2016) To what extent was the GDR’s emphasis on mass sport overshadowed by its ultimate desire for diplomatic recognition and legitimacy? BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    Sport in the former GDR could to some people, in some respects, be summed up in a few words. Medals, Olympic records, extraordinary success and more medals. Yet, it is much more complex than this. To the GDR, sport was everything – yes, medals and elite success were of paramount importance, as this would transform the state’s international status, by ensuring the goal of recognition and legitimacy, despite West Germany’s repeated efforts of prevention. However, the GDR also saw sport as possessing an extremely large amount of qualities, which would seek to impact the East German nation, as a whole.
    In 1949, the first leader of the GDR, Walter Ulbricht, made clear the significance of sport and set out to implement sporting participation on a mass scale. This aim was continued when Erich Honecker took office in 1971, but by this time East Germany were already well on the road to achieving the goal of diplomatic recognition through elite sporting success; however did this come at the cost of mass sport? The relationship between mass sport and elite sport was not an easy one and as will be shown, one whose difficult relationship climaxed in the late 1970’s onwards up until the end of the GDR.
    This dissertation will set out to show that the resulting neglect of mass sport was unintended. Rather, it was circumstances – in particular the growing public unrest and discontent with the East German Marxist Leninist regime and ensuing difficult relations with West Germany, which in fact ultimately led the GDR into taking measures that would end up having detrimental effects on the provision of mass sport.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Languages and Area Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2016 14:20
    Last Modified: 17 Oct 2016 14:20
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/22322

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