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Baseball and a country in turmoil: The impact of baseball during the second world war - Essay Example

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The adrenaline rush of competition. The heady feeling of triumph. There is little in this world that compares to the emotions generated by sports - by physical sport, to be exact. Since the beginning of time, human beings have been engaging in sports to fulfill the need for the thrill of conquest…
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Baseball and a country in turmoil: The impact of baseball during the second world war
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"Baseball and a country in turmoil: The impact of baseball during the second world war"

Download file to see previous pages Thi is true from the very start, from the time of the ancient Greek sports that planted the seeds of what we now know to be the modern Olympics. This takes on many different levels. Inherently, any competitive sport contains a power dimension. Necessarily, there is a winner and a loser. The vanquished is disempowered, and the victor exercises control over him. On another level, sports has traditionally been used by the ruling class as a way to satisfy the electorate. The Romans first coined the term "bread and circus" - and this is precisely what it is. It keeps the ruled entertained and distracted. It is a form of manipulation, wherein raw emotions are manipulated so that they may translate into support for the ruler and perpetuate him in power. The thesis, therefore, that sports has played a central role in how the Second World War played out, in particular in the United States, finds itself solidly supported by historical precedents.
It can be said without exaggeration that there is nothing more American than the game of baseball. Albeit popular as well in Central America, parts of South America, parts of the Caribbean and East Asia, it is in the United States where the game is considered part of national life and psyche. Indeed, after having been introduced to it by British and Irish immigrant settlers, Americans have developed a passion towards the game both timeless and fierce.
Baseball has
So rooted is it in the American culture that it even reflects this country's melting pot heritage. In an entry on baseball in Wikipedia, it is stated that:

Baseball has often been a barometer of the fabled American "melting pot", as immigrants from different regions have tried to "make good" in various areas including sports. In the 19th century, baseball was populated with many players of Irish or German extraction. A number of Native Americans had successful careers especially in the early 1900s. Italians and Poles appeared on many rosters during the 1920s and 1930s. Black Americans came on strong starting in the late 1940s after the barriers had been lifted, and continue to form a significant contingent. By the 1960s, Hispanics had started to make the scene, and had become a dominant force by the 1990s. In the 21st century, East Asians have been appearing in increasing numbers.

Never, however, is the national psyche of a country more vulnerable to fluctuations - the euphoria of victory, the desolation of defeat - that when that country is at war. Interestingly, baseball, while seemingly a mundane preoccupation when compared to politics and foreign policy, has contributed deeply to a nation wounded by the ravages of war and reeling from the loss of many of its young men in combat. It was perhaps one of the most difficult times in American history. According to Peterik: (please supply the page number for this quote) "During the war, many sacrifices were made and life was not fun. Men and women who stayed home waited by the mail box for a letter to arrive confirming their loved ones were still alive. Baseball had become a big part of the war effort because it kept people interested in daily activities."

This paper will analyze how baseball and the war - specifically, the Second World War - are ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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