kanonen kicken köpfen. Fascism’s Violent Victory in Ludwig Harig’s “Das Fußballspiel”

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Following World War II, sport in West Germany faced the prob-lem of disassociating itself from National Socialism. The Kölner Schule in particular sought to confront the Nazi past in the postwar present by chal-lenging the mediums of literary form and language, eventually abandoned the pages of literature entirely in favor of cinema and radio-plays to estab-lish true “critical realism.” In order to achieve this feat, authors like Ludwig Harig turned to football, allowing athletics to act as a tool to facilitate the desired change in literature after 1945. Influenced by Wellershoff’s Neuer Realismus, Ludwig Harig’s 1962 short story and subsequent Hörspiel “Das Fußballspiel” seek to reflect the chaotic and confusing incomprehensibility of postwar West Germany by turning to the realism of everyday experiences of the individual. Harig utilizes football in combination with radical literary form and language as the everyday where the violent fascist past of West German society can be accessed and confronted. “Das Fußballspiel” uses sport to question the indifference of society after 1945 and its inability to come to terms with its horrific past. By utilizing Adorno’s theories on sport and fascism in Prisms and “Education after Auschwitz,” this article elucidates how sport unveils the resistance of society in recognizing the ghosts of fascism still present in society, and subsequently how this reluctance reflects the refusal of West German society to reconcile with the horrific and violent recent past.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-25
Number of pages21
JournalColloquia Germanica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Narr Francke Verlag. All rights reserved.


  • football
  • Hörspiel
  • Kölner Schule
  • Neuer Realismus
  • Realism
  • sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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