by understanding the so called “football war” of 1969 which later ensued in a major national conflict, as a microcosmic representation of the larger bitterness between the two countries.
The major goal of Durham’s study is to find out the root causes for the ‘war’. The geographical proximity between the two countries could have intensified the propensity of the conflict but the factors for the same extents to the economic and social reasons as well. Both the countries were the members of the Central American Common Market but this membership left Honduras in a disadvantaged position. She was unable to compete with the inflow of the products from El Salvador. Honduras believed she was exploited by the neighbors for their own causes.
However, El Salvador was the one to first invade Honduras. They did so, as Salvadorans themselves emphasize, as an unavoidable reaction against the expulsion of tens of thousands of Salvadorans living across the border in Honduras in 1969. But, primarily, the rift between the two countries brings us no surprise unless we succeed to find out what could have been the reason for Salvadorans to migrate to Honduras in the first place. This is what Durham attempts to discover.
Fox reviews carefully the steps and strategies adopted by the author in his study. Durham conducts the research by studying all the aspects of population of the two countries and what could have possibly been the ‘push’ factors for the Salvadorans to move towards Honduras. A two-fold increase of the population in twenty years along with the growing reliance upon imported goods and the shift in agriculture from subsistence to commercial farming changed their living pattern in El Salvador. This, as Durham notes and Fox clearly reviews, led to the concentration of the lands in the hands of a few wealthy landowners. This has had a tremendous impact in generating rural population pressure.