The Spectre of Steroids: Nazi Propaganda, Cold War Anxiety and Patriarchal Paternalism

  • Beamish R
  • Ritchie * I
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Abstract

This essay demonstrates that certain fears in North America and Western Europe over steroid and other banned substance use in sport can be tied to three post-WWII events: reports that the Nazis had abused steroids to increase troop aggressiveness during WWII; claims during the cold war that Communist countries' athletes were utilizing steroids for purposes of totalitarian regime building similar to the manner in which the Nazis had allegedly used them; and allegations that east bloc female athletes were being used to further the cause of Communist regimes by being forced to accept the androgenizing effects of anabolic steroids and other hormone treatments. It is only with a full understanding of the repressed anxieties engendered by these events that the status of current banned substance policies can be fully and accurately evaluated.

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Authors

  • Rob Beamish

  • Ian Ritchie *

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