Sport is often praised for its potential to bring people together and to provide unity amongst people. Supporting a sports team unites people by providing them with a social link, something they all have in common: their excitement for a particular sporting event and the support for their team. This...
Sport is often praised for its potential to bring people together and to provide unity amongst people. Supporting a sports team unites people by providing them with a social link, something they all have in common: their excitement for a particular sporting event and the support for their team. This even works on a national level, as undoubtedly sporting events can help bringing a nation closer together and they can most certainly support nation-building.
Germany is a good example for this. After World War II, Germany had been divided into two countries, East Germany (the German Democratic Republic) and West Germany (the Federal Republic of Germany). After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the German reunification in 1990, Germans from the East and the West suddenly found themselves reunited. Whilst this was most certainly a very joyous occasion, it soon became apparent that it was difficult for Germans to define themselves as a nation. After all, Germany had not only been divided geographically, but also economically, given that East Germany had been a communist country and West Germany had been a typical capitalist country.
Therefore, the FIFA World Cup of 1994 provided a much-needed occasion for all Germans to feel united. For the first time since World War II, the German national football team consisted of players from all parts of Germany. Players that in the past had to play for two different national teams finally were able to play united in one team. This provided all Germans with a sense of unity and national pride. East Germans and West Germans both supported the German football team and were proud to be Germans. Despite the years of separation, East and West Germans were finally able to experience the joy and happiness of sport together, leading to a more common feeling of pride in their country. This event was undoubtedly a massive stepping stone in the nation-building process of the newly reunited Germany in the 1990s. This example clearly shows the important role sport can play in the nation-building process in general.