This book, the sixth in a series of publications concerning documents retrieved from the National Archives and Records Administration premises at College Park, Maryland, concerns a report prepared by Eugene M. Hinkle, Third Secretary of the American Embassy in Ankara, on the state of sports and physical education in Turkey in the year 1931. According to Wallace Murray, Chief of the State Department's Division of Near Eastern Affairs, this and other similar reports such as the one concerning the conditions concerning the rise and functioning of Turkish cinema (also prepared by Eugene Hinkle) was the result of the efforts of G. Howland Shaw's Chargé d'Affaires ad interim, "to occupy the time of the Embassy staff at Istanbul and Ankara when the regular work of those Missions run low." Although Wallace Murray appreciated the quality of the research and commended Hinkle for that, yet he was not fully sure whether the time devoted to preparing reports on subjects like sports and physical education actually produced anything of use to the State Department.
Nevertheless, while the present report, which covers a very narrow section of the life of Turkish society in the early 1930s might not have been of a great use to the State Department at the time, it is today of great interest to scholars and researchers of the Turkish Republic, about whose internal history in the first decades of its existence there remain large lacunae. As evidence of this lack of field research, it should be pointed out that, in the 76 years since Hinkle first submitted his report there has been no study or research whatsoever that would compare with it. Both the present gaps in our knowledge and the vivid and detailed descriptions that the report contains about the young republic and its attempts to use sport and physical education as a medium for the process of modernization and westernization make this material of inestimable value to the social scientist and quite possibly of interest to the lay reader as well.
The State Department's evaluation of the report is included at the end of this book, along with a selected bibliography of publications covering the field of sports which will be of a help for those who would like to read further on the subject at hand. Explanatory footnotes have been added to the original report where it was deemed necessary to illuminate obscure references and generally facilitate the reader's understanding.