Military commanders throughout history have known that soldiers’ morale directly affects their performance on the battlefield. Until the 20th century, however, matters of morale focused on the immediate necessities of food, clothing, and equipment. Civilians who volunteered or sold necessary provisions supplemented the work of the Quartermaster Corps and, beginning in the late 1800s, Post Exchanges. The military did not provide organized recreation activities but left soldiers to devise their own entertainment. With time, the military broadened its focus on morale and began to consider organized recreation an essential part of maintaining soldiers’ welfare. Recreation served the important functions of creating diversions from boredom and illicit behaviors, improving the quality of soldiers’ daily experiences, and preserving a sense of normality and domestic relationships within the ...

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