Wartime Words & Music

During the war years, radio was the only medium available for mass communication. In this seven-part series, original recordings of jazz and popular music are intermingled with news broadcasts and the speeches of Chamberlain, Churchill, Hitler, Mussolini, Himmler, FDR, Montgomery, MacArthur and others, to recreate the atmosphere and times of the turbulent years from 1933 to 1945, when the world powers were locked in mortal combat in the bloodiest conflict in history.

 Hello, I'm Dennis Shore.

Welcome to "Wartime Words and Music 1933 - 1945"...

The Second World War as a subject for books, movies and television documentaries has certainly not been neglected but radio... in my experience... has not really attempted to re-create the programs of those turbulent years.

During the war years... radio was the only medium available for mass communication. Broadcasting was part of the war effort... and propaganda took flight on the wings of radio waves. The first BBC radio broadcast was on the 14th November 1922... and for the remainder of the 1920's... dance-band music from the Savoy Hotel in London was a radio favorite.

Churchill believed in 1926... that radio was an instrument of such power and importance... that it should be closely controlled by the government.

In Germany... from 1933 onwards... jazz music was banned from radio, live performances and recording... because of its Black-American origins... inherent spirit of freedom... and because some of the well known jazz personalities were Jewish.

The Americans... under the inspired direction of Glen Miller and others... used modern sounds and musical arrangements to entertain the troops... and the BBC... often used the "British Sense of Humor"... to keep up the spirits of Londoners... especially during the Blitz... and the trying days of waiting for the German invasion.

As a psychological strike... the Allies cleverly hijacked the opening bars of Beethoven's Symphony Number 5... the notes coincide with Morse code for the letter "V" for Victory... Churchill's hand greeting on newsreels and public occasions... complete with hat and cigar.

In this program... I will be presenting original recordings of music and speeches... to recreate the atmosphere and times of the years 1933 to 1939.

It is important to understand... when hearing actual speeches of Hitler and other Nazi leaders... that this program is not an endorsement of any kind... of National Socialism or Fascism. On the contrary... the program is dedicated... to the generation of men and women who were swept up in those perilous years... and a tribute to the British People... who stood alone until 1941... and in the end... overcame all adversity.

Enjoy each full 1 hour radio show of famous speeches, music, and commentary in Real Audio