Category: Basics

Up in Smoke: The Nazi Anti-Tobacco Campaign

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‘So many excellent men have been lost to tobacco poisoning.’

 Adolf Hitler, 1942

Much historical study has been conducted into addressing the atrocities committed by the Nazi Regime from 1933 to 1945. However, considerably less attention has been dedicated to the Nazi anti-tobacco campaign, a relatively benign government policy, which importantly, was one of the first campaigns by a Western government designed to deal with health issues arising from tobacco use. This subject is particularly topical in the current climate, as many Western governments are attempting to reduce tobacco use among their own citizens. This paper will examine the first mass Western government campaign against tobacco and its ultimate failings.

Why were the Nazis so concerned to control the use of tobacco among its citizens? Is it possible that the Nazis were concerned with the wellbeing of some of its citizens? Or were more selfish motives involved?

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The ‘Great Competition’: Bodybuilding’s First Ever Show

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Given the number of bodybuilding shows held every month, let alone every year, in places like the UK and USA, it’s difficult to imagine a time when there bodybuilding shows were relatively unheard of. Yes, vaudeville shows were performers would show off their muscles had been established in the 1800s but it took some time for a dedicated bodybuilding show to emerge.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was Eugen Sandow, the man many credit as the Father of Modern Bodybuilding, who helped initiate the first ever bodybuilding competition in the Royal Albert Hall in 1901. Billed as ‘the Great Competition’, the show helped kickstart the bodybuilding craze and bring about a world of Mr. Americas, Universes and Olympias.

How much sleep do you really need?

8c6o84yEiHow much sleep do you really need?

It’s a question anyone with an interest in health or fitness has asked themselves at one point or another. Nowadays 7-8 hours a night is prescribed with such regularity that it becomes almost annoying.

To help us determine what makes a good sleep and how long we should actually rest, today we look at the 1915 Book Vitality Supreme by famed Physical Culturist Bernarr McFadden. A controversial figure, McFadden ran a Physical Culture Empire that encompassed everything from health hotels to magazines. While not all of his advice would be accepted today, his opinion on what makes a good sleep is undoubtedly interesting reading.

So without further adieu, here’s is what one of the fathers of modern day physical culture had to say about sleep

The fight for Gold! Weightlifting at the 1896 Olympics

how-social-media-will-change-the-olympics-infographic--732a95f1051896 was a special year for athletes. Long touted in the making, 1896 marked the first Olympic Games in over 2,000 years. Through loans, promises and sheer determination, Pierre de Coubertin and his cohort of plucky fitness enthusiasts had somehow managed to organize an international sporting event comprising over 280 athletes from 14 different nations competing in ten different events. Held in Greece, the birthplace of the original Olympic Games, few could deny the importance of the modern day games.

Despite the many obstacles involved in creating such a spectacle, the first modern Olympics were heralded as a success. This was particularly true in the case of Olympic Weightlifting, which was one of the ten sporting events featured in 1896.

Today we’ll be casting our minds back over a century to examine the battle for Olympic Gold between Great Britain’s Launceston Elliot and Denmark’s Viggo Jensen.

The Bloody History of the Intercontinental Cup

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From 1960 to 2004 UEFA and their counterparts in South America were responsible for the Intercontinental Cup, an annual tournament that pitted the winners of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup against the winners of the Copa Libertadores. In part driven by lofty ideals of creating a closer footballing family, the first decade of the Cup was troublesome to say the least. By the end of the ‘60s, the Cup had become synonymous with bloodshed, sendings off and misbehaving fans. Sadly it could have been so different.

Indian Clubs in Victorian Britain

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Fitness crazes are unsurprisingly not a new phenomenon and in light of that fact, today we will discuss the growth of the Indian Club craze in Victorian England. Indian Clubs are bottle-shaped wooden clubs that are swung in the hand using a range of movements for the purpose of gymnastic exercise. Whilst they have been used for centuries in India and the Middle East both in people’s homes and in private gymnasia to develop strength, speed and flexibility, this form of exercise entered into Western consciousness relatively recently with British soldiers ‘discovering’ the exercises in the early 19th century when based in colonial India. The spread of the Club’s popularity in Victorian Britain was as rapid as it was fascinating.

It’s Complicated: Nkrumah, Football and African History

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“The masses of the people of Africa are crying for unity…”

Kwame Nkrumah

Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president in the nation’s post-colonial history was a controversial figure at the best of times. He proposed African unity but was at times an authoritarian leader. He lent a helping hand to those in need, but often on his terms only. Regardless of people’s opinions of him, one thing was clear. He was sincere in what he fought for. Nkrumah had a grand dream of uniting all of Africa and whilst ultimately he failed, he left an interesting story. This is especially the case when it comes to Ghanian football history.

Politics and football in Africa are more often than not bedfellows. Ghanaian football is no different.