Erminio Fonzo

A fascist measure for university students: the compulsory sports certificate

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Fascism, Gruppi universitari fascisti, Sports certificate, University sport, Goliards

Fascism paid special attention to university student formation because it was from the student body that the future ruling class was to emerge, and fascist policy intended to develop the «new Goliard», disciplined and loyal to the regime. Sport played a vital role and, in 1935, the secretary of the Partito nazionale fascista (Pnf), Achille Starace, declared that, in order to hold a Gruppo universitario fascista (Guf) membership card, students had to obtain the appropriate sports certificate. This entailed passing tests in athletics and rifle shooting. The certificate replaced the traditional record book («papiro matricolare») and tens of thousands of students were forced to take tests in order to obtain it. However, the government measure did not achieve the goals expected by the regime in terms of nationalizing the student masses. The paper reconstructs the history of the sports certificate from sources including the national archives (Archivio centrale dello Stato), official Pnf records and newspapers from the period, and does so by contextualizing sports policy within the more general fascist student policy and the international evolution of university sport.

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