At the Danish national stadium on 5th of June 1941, on Denmark’s annually celebrated Constitutional Day, no less, the Viennese football team Admira demonstrated the superiority of Greater Germany with a 4–1 victory over a select Copenhagen team, thereby triggering among the young Danish male spectators a demonstratively negative reaction to a highly politicized programme of athletic collaboration with the Germans. During and especially after the game the German soldiers in the stands were subjected to humiliating jibes and even physical assault. The fact that the Austrians won the game no doubt played a part in the negative mood, but this is hardly an adequate explanation of the disarray, since spectator culture at that time in the history of Danish athletics was characterized by remarkable forbearance. In interpreting these events this article draws attention to the affinities between forms of protest or uprising characteristic of political commitment and the more general attraction to involvement in and passion for the sports arena. However different in intent and reflective verbalization, the action-oriented forms of expression that are particularly distinct in sporting events and masculine working class culture can, as this example shows, also function as a genuine means of political protest. Furthermore, the event is analysed within the framework of a gender theory that interprets masculinity in the framework of a “gender of extremes” more inclined to move towards or beyond the limits of average human expression.
masculinity, class, social movements, gender, sports, political protest