PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND SPORTS IN TURKEY DURING WORLD WAR II (1939-1945)
Keywords: Athletics, Balkan Games, General Directorate of Physical Training, Physical Education and Sports, World War II.
This study addresses physical education and sports activities in Turkey during the Second World War (from September 1, 1939 to September 2, 1945). The study focuses on one period under six headings: (1) activities of the General Directorate of Physical Training (GDPT), (2) domestic sporting events, (3) competitions attended abroad, (4) promotion of sports through community centers (halk evleri) and related correspondence, and (5) areas allocated to sports. The activities of the GDPT during the Second World War were numerically analyzed. Data were collected from the Presidency Republican Archive Documents, Memorandum Diary of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, journal on laws, Official Gazette of the Republic of Turkey, and periodicals published during the Second World War. The study focuses on competitions between Turkey and foreign countries during the war and determines the developments in sports in Turkey and makes explanations about them. The results are as follows: Although the Turkish economy was in dire straits during the Second World War, the GDPT was regularly funded every year, resulting in the development of sports and an increase in investments in sports in Turkey. The second important step towards the development of sports in Turkey was national and international sporting events, activities of community centers. Moreover, World War II led to the linking of military activities with sports, and the understanding of “a sound mind in a sound body” became the dominant discourse in Turkey. Consequently, Turkey attached more and more importance to sports and physical activities and focused on turning the youth into a physically and mentally healthy generation.