Charismatic Nationalist Leader: Turnvater Jahn

TitleCharismatic Nationalist Leader: Turnvater Jahn
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsEisenberg, Christiane
JournalInternational Journal of the History of Sport
Date Published03/1996

From about 1810, Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852), later called 'Turnvater', attained an unusual popularity among the younger generation of the rising middle classes. Jahn was not a traditionally defined sporting hero but he achieved a degree of long-lasting fame and mythos nearly unknown amongst other sporting heroes. This article, however, deals not with Jahn as a myth but as a real person. What he did himself to contribute to his long-lasting fame is the question posed here; in order to find the answer, the author examines Jahn as an inventor of Turnen, the German equivalent of English sport at this time, stressing the role of the Turner as a social movement.

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