Shaping the National Body: Physical Education and the Transformation of German Nationalism in the Long Nineteenth Century

Daniel Tröhler

Abstract


The following article reconstructs the curricular story of physical education between the Prussian prohibition (1820) and reintroduction (1842) and broad dissemination of ‘gymnastic exercises’ between 1842 and 1871 and its full implementation around 1900 in Germany, focusing on the interrelation between constitutional reforms, nationalism and the development of a state-directed educational system, directed towards making the loyal future citizens. The successive formation of a German nation-state is being understood as the historical context of the implementation of gymnastics in the school curriculum; a process that in its success depended on the rise of nationalism as a dominant political ideology in the course of the nineteenth century.


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