The Other Side of WWII

World War II wasn’t only death and destruction, there were a few occasions where there was some reprieve. Sports remained very important during the war, to keep up the morale. The above picture is of Private Leonardo Rodriguez of Cartaro, Arizona, roping a calf during the American Red Cross rodeo and “Wild West” show staged in Foggia Stadium in Southern Italy, July 4, 5, and 6, 1944. The steers were furnished by Italian veterans of the last war. All participants in the events were soldiers of the Allied Fifth Army in Italy or Allied flyers based in Italy.

Canadian soldiers checking out their ice skates

Dutch KNIL (Royal Dutch Indies Army) playing volleyball in Australia on a military base

Until September 1944, most sports were still allowed in the Netherlands by the occupying Nazis

A race between two eight rowing teams on the Amstel River in Amsterdam, May 1941

Fanny Blankers-Koen was a Dutch track and field athlete best known for winning four gold medals at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. She competed there as a 30-year-old mother of two, earning the nickname “the flying housewife,” and was the most successful athlete at the event.

During the war, domestic competition in sports continued in German-occupied Holland, and Blankers-Koen set six new world records between 1942 and 1944.

Fanny Blankers-Koen is pictured below in 1943 and surrounded by her admirers

Allowing sports to continue was also a tool of propaganda, of course.



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