World Cup: Enough with the Nazi references

Outfits and fans accessories featuring the German national colours are on display at a Sports department store in Berlin on July 10, 2014, three days before the football World Cup 2014 final game between Germany and Argentina, to be played in Brazil. John MacDougall/AFP

It’s been about 70 years since World War II, but when Germany beat Brazil in the World Cup this week, it unleashed a torrent of Nazi references on social media. Why?

A Boston social media analytics company found that on Monday, the day before the game, there were 14,108 tweets that used the words “Nazi’ or “Nazis” or “Nazi’s.” The day of the game, there were 95,669.

“On the face of it, it’s irrational, [coming] 70 years after the war with practically no one who had any personal responsibility during the Second World War still being alive or at an age or a mental stage where he can be reasonably linked to what he did,” said Dr. Gunnar Beck, who teaches European law at the University of London, according to the CBC.

“So it’s patently irrational. On the other hand, as a sociological fact, I‘m not surprised.”

“These tweets falsely and irresponsibly identify current, democratic Germany with the horrific past of the country, which the present German government and people have denounced and rejected,” said Abe Foxman, national director of the organization. “Germany has done so much to atone for its past, and to have this happen now is terribly hurtful.”

Germany will play Argentina on Sunday. It’s doubtful there will be many references on Twitter to the Falklands or the Dirty War.

Related: Football haters cheer for the last World Cup match (BBC).