The project aims to study the diplomatic and economic dimensions of the 1948 Olympic Games which were held in London in the aftermath of the Second World War. The researcher is a French-German scholar who has done some research on the history of sport in other European countries before (her PhD looked at sport in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany). The proposition was prepared in close contact with the host institution in the UK, which is a world leading research centre in sports history. The researcher – who has worked on the 1924 (Paris) and 1936 (Berlin) Olympics before – has identified two very important aspects of the 1948 London Games. First is the question of re-establishing values of peace and international relations in the aftermath of the Second World War and, as far as the Olympic movement is concerned, after the ‘Nazi’ Games of 1936. However, this objective was overshadowed by the fact that the British government had its own agenda in terms of establishing international influence and prestige. Second, these Games were held at a time of post-war economic crisis when there were fears that Britain might not even be able to feed itself let alone provide the infrastructure and nourishment for the world’s largest sporting event. The contradiction between Britain’s ambition to appear to have recovered from the war and the reality of her economic vulnerability provide an excellent theme for this research which will fill a gap in the history of Britain and Europe. To bring the project to a successful end, the researcher will consult sources from several British institutions, but also from archives held in Germany and Switzerland.
Fields of science
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