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

Nordic Journal of Educational History. 2017;4(2):31-45


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Nordic Journal of Educational History

ISSN: 2001-7766 (Print); 2001-9076 (Online)

Publisher: Umeå University

Society/Institution: Umeå University, Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

LCC Subject Category: Education: History of education

Country of publisher: Sweden

Language of fulltext: Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, English

Full-text formats available: PDF



Daniel Tröhler (University of Vienna)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 50 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

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.