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Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Atomic Bowl II: Electric Trumpaloo

"We thought it would be totally appropriate and symbolic of a celebration":

The story of the ‘Atom Bowl’ is one of the most bizarre tales in the wake of the atomic bomb being dropped on Nagasaki, Japan—pitting the makeshift teams the Nagasaki Bears against the Isahaya Tigers. The Bears’ quarterback was Angelo Bertelli, who won the Heisman trophy in 1943 while playing for Notre Dame. Bertelli enlisted in the Marines in 1942 but wasn’t deployed until the fall of 1943. The Tigers had Bullet Bill Osmanski, an NFL star who played for the real life Chicago Bears and led the league in rushing in 1939 with 699 yards.

The Tokyo Files Archives has a photo from that day on January 1, 1946, taken from the “Pictorial Arrowhead Occupation of Japan by Second Marine Division,”—a yearbook of sorts for American troops in Japan. The photo is just one among dozens in the book that examine the destruction that was unleashed on that city.

Newspapers of the time also told the story of the roughly 2,000 servicemen and women who braved the winter cold to watch the Atom Bowl. A syndicated story in the January 2, 1946 edition of the Moorhead Daily News in Minnesota explained to Americans at home that our troops in Japan were keeping their spirits up with a football game...

The sequel in Pyongyang this year?  I'm sure we'll all need a morale boost...


January 3, 2018 | Permalink


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