Sport and Civilian Morale in Second World War Britain
Civilian morale has been a key topic for historians of wartime Britain. Understanding the government’s concern with maintaining the spirits of the civilian population has led to considerable analysis of wartime entertainment and recreation. Yet historians have had surprisingly little to say about the role of organized sport. This article remedies this situation by exploring the factors involved in the development of policy in relation to the three most popular spectator sports in wartime Britain: greyhound racing, horse racing and association football. It argues that while the government recognized the value of sport in sustaining morale, policy was never fixed. On the contrary, it was subject to a range of shifting considerations and interests related to public safety, war work, transport and public and political opinion, the relative importance of which varied throughout the conflict. The article also contends that social class played a key role in informing official policy and public attitudes towards sport, and in determining whose morale was prioritized on each occasion.
The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
Citation : Taylor, M. (2016) Sport and Civilian Morale in Second World War Britain. Journal of Contemporary History, 53 (2), pp. 315-338
ISSN : 1461-7250
Research Group : International Centre for Sports History and Culture
Research Institute : Institute of History
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- School of Humanities