Calisthenics at Bowdoin WW2

Posted by on Jun 12, 2016 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, Media, Navy, WW2 | 0 comments

When college coaches were sent to war, new athletic managers were recruited.

Newspaper Article on Bowdoin WW2

As teams coaches were sent to war, new athletic managers were recruited from slim pickings

In 1943 Bowdoin College boys were required to take rigorous calisthenics 5 hours a week.  It was normal for boys just out of high school to be weak in reading and writing. Ordinarily the college would focus greatly on upgrading writing and math skills, english, foreign language, history, debate, American literature and the classics.  But in 1943 best efforts at Bowdoin were strained by the war. Bowdoin’s tradition of liberal arts, Christian morality and intellectualism for the common good, were the formula that created great thinkers to lead democratic society. This unlike a socialist or communist government that requires none but the brute.

Young men like Mose were already heavily burdened with extra classes plus training for sports. Morris played Baseball, Football, Tack, and Basketball.  And even though he wasn’t yet enlisted in the navy, he was subjected to an altered curriculum including extra physical ed classes designed to ready boys for war.

As sportsmen aged 18-21 instantly dissolved from Bowdoin’s varsity teams, freshmen like Mose were added on the fly. Mose loved to play ball. And he had a good time of it at Bowdoin.

Morris’s freshman year at Bowdoin in 1942-1943 was a critical time in American history. The college had to comply with the Army-Navy requirement to get the boys fit for war. No part of campus life remained untouched by war. This film gives and idea about military calisthenics.

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