This year marks the 60th anniversary of Germany’s first World Cup win, as the country (then known as West Germany) defeated a fancied Hungarian side in Switzerland to lift the Jules Rimet trophy. You can watch highlights from the match above, including rarely-seen colour footage beginning at the 0:51 mark.
The match and its aftermath is analysed in great detail by Paul Legg in the cover story of History Today’s July issue. In footballing terms, West Germany’s victory was remarkable — the ‘Mighty Magyars’, as the Hungarian side was known, were the gilded team of the postwar era, and few observers gave the Germans a chance of winning. In the end, they overturned a 2-0 defecit to win 3-2, albeit not without some controversy.
Yet the game was as significant off the field as on it. Only nine years since the end of the Second World War and the fall of the Third Reich, the campaign sealed a new age of peace, prosperity and redemption for the country, while provoking dismay and vitriol in other European nations, tapping into deep-seated concern about the speed of Germany’s economic recover.