Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Music in Wars:

The role of music in World War II was significant probably unlike any other in history; in the context of the largest war in history, the Modern States engaged in combat on all dimensions to win the war, including art and music. In understanding the meaning of music in World War II it is important to reflect upon the use that States would make of music, and the ends to which private individuals would use music to give meaning to their situations. It is also significant to mode that this was the first mass media war, with radio and movies spreading not only tunes and songs, but often specific voices and bands, and with songs ranked in nations for popularity.States took a massive effort in broadcasting and producing music generally for three reasons:To boost the morale of troops and civilians suffering under the war.To attract enemy troops to propaganda programs.To express a vision of the nature of their regimes.For the humans drawn in to the war the motivations would be more honest. Songs would provide nostalgia for peace, to motivate them, or to promise a better future. In the case of Germany, which took an active role in defining proper music, the act of listening to music took on a political role it did not in the United Kingdom or the USA. For example, listening to jazz in Germany could be an act of political opposition since so many Jazz musicians were African Americans or Jews. But despite a long history of hostility towards Jazz in the United States the troops and young people suffering the hardships of war were fed a mass of black inspired music with no political demand that men about to risk their lives listen to proper white music.Also one must never forget that the Allies won and the Axis lost, and the history of the music will reflect that, with the music of the Allies becoming more and more heroic with time, even when it was originally swing music intended for wild nights out, where as Nazi music is now held in dispute and many composers music is criticized for being supported by the regime even, in the case of Wagner, after their death.

War:British Music:

British soldiers were paid significantly less than American troops, faced harder conditions at home, and were generally deployed for longer periods of time, preventing them from being exposed to radio products to the same level as the United States Armed Forces. So whereas US forces were exposed to mass media often large jazz productions British units often had to sing their own songs that were often disrespectful and memorable rhymes. Songs were generally based upon pre-existing well known songs.Popular soldier songs included:No More Soldiering for Me -sung to "What a Friend we have in Jesus"Kiss me Goodnight, Sergeant MajorSod 'Em All -sung to "Bless 'Em All"Deutscher, Deutscher -sung to "German National Anthem"Hitler has Only Got One Ball -sung to "Colonel Bogey"You Take the Gun -sung to "Loch Lomond"Desert BluesD-Day Dodgers -sung to "Lili Marlene" (Written for forces serving in Italy during D-Day)The British Soldier's Discharge SongBritain did have a mass media which played popular music, much enjoyed by the Germans stationed in France and the Low Countries or flying over Britain. The most famous single performer was Vera Lynn who became known as "the forces' sweetheart".Popular concert songs in Britain during the war included:Run rabbit run - Flannegan & Allen Words by Noel Gay & Ralph Butler. Music by Noel GayThere'll Always Be An EnglandWe'll Meet Again 1939 Words and Music by Ross Parker and Hughie CharlesThis is perhaps the most famous war time song with the lines:We'll meet againDon't know whereDon't know whenBut I know we'll meet again some sunny dayLynn's recording was memorably played during an apocalyptic scene in Dr. Strangelove; the Byrds covered it (to similarly ironic effect) on their first album.White Cliffs of Dover 1942 Words by Nat Burton and Music by Walter KentWhen the Lights Go On Again All Over the World Written by Eddie Seller, Sol Marcus, and Bennie Benjamin

War:German Songs:

Lili Marlene was perhaps the most popular song of World War II with both German and British forces. Based on a German poem the song was record in both English and German versions. The poem was set to music in 1938 and was a hit with troops in the Afrika Korps. Mobile desert combat required a large number of radio units and the British started to enjoy the song so much that it was quickly translated in to English. The song was used throughout the war as not only a popular song, but a propaganda tool.

War:American songs:

American troops entered WWII as the first modern force. Where as Germans supplies were carried by horses and Russians had to walk from Stalingrad to Berlin, American troops were provided a level of technology not known by any previous army.This included music. American troops had regular access to radio in all but the most difficult combat situations, and not only did soldiers know specific songs, but specific recordings. This gave a nature to American troops music during WWII, not as much songs sung around a fire or while marching, but listened to in the mess between combat on Armed Forces Radio.
Take note of the non-aggressive and hopeful tone of the song “When The Lights Go On Again”:
When the lights go on again all over the world
And the boys are home again all over the world
And rain or snow is all that may fall from the skies above
A kiss won't mean "goodbye" but "Hello to love
When the lights go on again all over the world
And the ships will sail again all over the world
Then we'll have time for things like wedding rings and free hearts will sing
When the lights go on again all over the world
When the lights go on again all over the world