Sport and Civilian Morale in Second World War Britain

Date

2016-10-17

Advisors

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

ISSN

1461-7250

Volume Title

Publisher

Sage

Type

Article

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

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.

Description

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.

Keywords

civilian, government, morale, sport, wartime

Citation

Taylor, M. (2016) Sport and Civilian Morale in Second World War Britain. Journal of Contemporary History, 53 (2), pp. 315-338

Rights

Research Institute

Institute of History