Leisure Clubs and the Decline of the Weimar Republic: A Reassessment

Klaus Nathaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In contrast to the common assumption that voluntary associations from male voice choirs to gymnastic clubs mediate political culture, this article stresses that leisure clubs were frequented first and foremost as places where sociability could unfold. This form of social exchange, which suspends differences of social status or political attitudes, is relevant for the development of the political system, as it can work as an antidote against a fundamental politicization of all social relations. In Weimar Germany, leisure clubs did not realize this potential. This article argues that this was mainly the consequence of state authorities interfering with the voluntary sector of leisure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-50
JournalJournal of Contemporary History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • clubs and societies
  • sociability
  • sport and leisure


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