The Return of the Old Enemy- England v Germany


As England fans once again kick themselves and wonder what could have been, I wonder why this is the “old enemy” so to speak.

It’s nothing new this rivalry and it is one that could date back nearly one hundred years, well and truly out of the walls of the football stadium: More recently in the past 100 years it can be related back to for which this rivalry has been created.

An obvious one can be seen through World War 1, in which the English, the French, the Russians and the USA all went up against the Germans and the Austro-Hungarians. The result of which we all know, arguable harsh restrictions placed on the Germans through the Treaty of Versailles, which would later lead to the results of which being used in a propaganda campaign by one Adolf Hitler. This of course led to World War 2, in which yet again the English were against the Germans.

However, it has been interesting to see that football has also been a way for the English/German rivalry to carry on, on a different kind of field. After World War 1, the Football Association decided not to play any German teams due to the result of the First World War. It was also well documented that pre World War 2, the English and the German football team rivalry was still carrying on. Much to the shock of the Jewish Community of Tottenham Hotspur, the German football team was allowed to play England at their ground in 1935, when Hitler’s rise to power was really all but confirmed. This shocked the audiences because it wasn’t viewed as the right thing to do, to allow a country with anti-Semitic views to play in a community in which there was a large Jewish contingent. What was more shocking in the later years was the 1938 match in Berlin, in which the England players performed the Nazi salute during the German national anthem. It illustrated that the English were going to show German sympathy, which would later lead to mass war.

As seen in the film Escape to Victory staring English talent such as Michael Caine and Bobby Moore, as well as Sly Stallone, it shows the camp mates of a Concentration Camp go against the Nazi’s on the football field. This further illustrates that the war was not only taking place on battlefields, but on the pitch too. The results of war have led to the rivalry further being carried onto the football field. The World Cup of 1966 in which the English beat the Germans was further viewed as the English beating the Germans. But it can easily be argued that this rivalry doesn’t mean the same to the Germans. They have gone through the wars and beaten each time, and therefore the England V Germany football matches can easily be deemed as more British Propaganda to put our dominance over them still.

And yes, we did lose 😦

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