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As some of you may have noticed, we’ve restarted the “Video Of The Week” section on the site, and this week we have a particular treat for you in the form of the outstanding BBC documentary from 2003, “Football & Fascism”. This film traces the link between three fascist dictators of the twentieth century – Mussonlini, Hitler and Franco – and football, focussing on Mussolini’s, ahem, “hands on” approach towards the 1934 World Cup finals, the importance placed upon Germany’s performances at the 1936 Olympic Games and the 1938 World Cup finals and General Franco’s use of Real Madrid to bolster his popularity in Spain.
That this is a BBC documentary is, of course, as much as you need to know in so far as an assurance of quality is concerned. Excellently researched, with some fascinating archive footage (the 1934 World Cup finals, for example, come alive before your very eyes in a way that is seldom seen elsewhere) and interviews with both historians and players that were there at the time, this is essential viewing to understand how football, for an ideology that was fundamentally atheist, was plied into being, to a lesser or greater extent, an opiate for the masses. It is critical that we remember that, just as the game can be a force for good, it can also be a force for evil and that which of those paths it takes is, as supporters, down to us.
Since this video has been uploaded to YouTube, it comes in six ten minute long chunks. It is, regrettably, not available to buy on DVD as yet.
Our thanks go to the original uploader.
Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.
How many more times this historical common misconception that Franco was a fascist will be repeated? He was as far from fascism as I am from being a ballet dancer. To prove it, as you rightly say fascism is fundamentally atheist ideology whereas Franco was a firm God-believing catholic.
Personally, I would have described Franco as an ultra-nationalist and the key difference is, you rightly say, religion, as well as military expansionism. His government did, however, share many of the characteristics of fascist governments. Still, that is an argument that you would be better off taking up with the BBC than with me.
[…] Video Of The Week: Football & Fascism “As some of you may have noticed, we’ve restarted the ‘Video Of The Week’ section on the site, and this week we have a particular treat for you in the form of the outstanding BBC documentary from 2003, ‘Football & Fascism’. This film traces the link between three fascist dictators of the twentieth century – Mussonlini, Hitler and Franco – and football, focussing on Mussolini’s, ahem, ‘hands on’ approach towards the 1934 World Cup finals, the importance placed upon Germany’s performances at the 1936 Olympic Games and the 1938 World Cup finals and General Franco’s use of Real Madrid to bolster his popularity in Spain.” (twohundredpercent) […]
Sorry. Obviously I wasn’t blaming you; it was just a general thoughy. Regards.
Thanks for the link. I enjoyed watching it but I do have to question how strong the links between football and fascism really were. I don’t think football really held quite the same effect over the national consciousness as it does today. It was rarely broadcast and there were other things going on in the world at that time.
Certainly, Italy’s World Cup win in 1934 does seem a bit fishy. But Hitler didn’t care about football and, as mentioned, only attended one match. Likewise, the connections between Franco and Real Madrid aren’t conclusive enough to call them the ‘regime’s team’.
And as for the transfer of Di Stefano, this was complicated by the fact Colombia was not a FIFA member and his registration was officially held by River Plate, not Millonarios. I believe Barcelona and Real Madrid each agreed a deal with a different club hence the bizarre ‘sharing’ solution’. Barcelona were unhappy with this and pulled out, leaving him to sign for Real Madrid. And the rest is history.
Still, it was enjoyable!
OBVIUOSLLY YOU HAVE NOT LIVED UNDER FRANCO. HE AND HIS REGIM WAS EXTREMELLY FASCIST AND USED THE FASCIST CATHOLIC CHURCH TO SERVE HIM AND MESMERIZE ILITEREATE PEOPLE. LIVE TO BELIEVE.
WHERE CAN I WATCH THESE VIDEOS NOW?
The video has been removed from youtube. Any chance someone could re-upload it? I’m dying to see this!