In October of 1918, The Chronicle, a magazine for New York society, held a symposium, printed a long Solemn Protest, and invited readers to sign an official Pledge condemning playing bridge in time of war. It was, said the Pledge, an evil example set by the wealthy leisure class to pursue this “contemptible, time-killing, useless” way of spending time.
Since the war would end in November, it seems like a bit late to protest. Reading on, I wondered if the reason for the Pledge had more to do with fears engendered by the Russian Revolution a couple years earlier for, wording continues: “. . . by playing bridge, men and women of leisure give to exponents of class hatred (communists??) a weapon to wield.”
How different the world was by 1941 when America entered WWII! The religious mores that kept many in America’s middle class from playing cards began to crumble in post-WWI years, then came prohibition, invention of contract bridge, the boom years of the 20s, the stock market crash in 1929. After that Ely Culbertson saw to it that the new bridge game became a mass fad in America.
By 1941, playing bridge was part of middle class culture, played by soldiers at the front and by the families they left behind. Including General Ike Eisenhower as head of the Allied forces in Europe, and his wife Mamie back in D.C. Not only that, we were fighting on the side of the Russians.
As to class war and Communism, by the 30s, there was a Socialist Party candidate for president (Norman Thomas) and open flirtation with Communism by the young.
For sure, nobody by 1941 would think to seriously propose–even in a magazine for high society–that people not play bridge during WWII because it might incite class antagonism.