World War II
World War II, (aka WWII or The Second World War) was a global military conflict that took place between 1939 and 1945. It was the largest and deadliest war in history. The conventional view is that the war began on September 1, 1939, when Nazi-led Germany invaded Poland. Within two days the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany, forming the Allied Powers of Poland, the United Kingdom, France, and others. In September, 1940 Germany, Italy, and Japan signed a mutual defense agreement, the Tripartite Pact, and were known as the Axis Powers. In June 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union, forcing the Soviets into the Allied Powers. In December 1941, the Empire of Japan bombed Pearl Harbor the United States bringing it too into the war on the Allied side. China also joined the Allies, as eventually did most of the rest of the world. Italy surrendered in September 1943, Germany in May 1945. The surrender of Japan marked the end of the war, on September 2, 1945.
Its major impact on baseball was the fact that many players served in the military during the war years, causing major league talent to be thin during that time. Stars such as Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Bob Feller left baseball to serve their country during this time. Some American players and many Japanese players lost their life, including the most famous Japanese player of the era, Eiji Sawamura.
The War also provided a major push for African-Americans to push for racial equality, including the end of segregation in professional baseball. After all, if African-Americans could serve and place their lives at risk diefending their country, and fighting a German regime based on racist policies, was it not time to end discrimination at home. It is no coincidence that the process of integration started immediately after the conclusion of the war.
Other consequences of World War II included a reduction in number of minor leagues and restrictions on teams heading south for spring training. One positive effect of the war was the formation of the women's AAGPBL, which was designed to fill the baseball void for fans.
- Mark Z. Aaron and Bill Nowlin: Who's on First: Replacement Players in World War II, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2015. ISBN 978-1-933599-91-5
- Gary Bedingfield: Baseball in World War II Europe, Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, SC, 2000. ISBN 978-0738503219
- Gary Bedingfield: Baseball's Dead of World War II: A Roster of Professional Baseball Players Who Died in Service, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2010.
- Gary Bedingfield: Baseball in Hawaii During World War II, independently published, 2021. ISBN 979-8720521356
- Steven R. Bullock: Playing for Their Nation: Baseball and the American Military during World War II, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2004.
- David Finoli: For the Good of the Country: World War II Baseball in the Major and Minor Leagues, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2002.
- Duke Goldman: "The Double Victory Campaign and the Campaign to Integrate Baseball", in Sean Forman and Cecilia M. Tan, eds.: The Negro Leagues Are Major Leagues: Essays and Research for Overdue Recognition, Baseball-Reference and SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2021, pp. 163-168. ISBN ISBN 978-1-970159-63-9
- Anne R. Keene: The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team that Helped Win World War II, Sports Publishing LLC, New York, NY, 2018. ISBN 978-1-68358-207-6
- John Klima: The Game Must Go On: Hank Greenberg, Pete Gray, and the Great Days of Baseball on the Home Front in WWII, Thomas Dunne Books, New York, NY, 2015. ISBN 978-1-2500-6479-0
- Jerry Malloy: "Black Bluejackets: The Great Lakes Negro Varsity of 1944", in Sean Forman and Cecilia M. Tan, eds.: The Negro Leagues Are Major Leagues: Essays and Research for Overdue Recognition, Baseball-Reference and SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2021, pp. 153-162. ISBN ISBN 978-1-970159-63-9
- William B. Mead: Even the Browns: Baseball During World War II, Dover Publications, Mineola, NY, 2010 (originally published in 1978).