Sat, 10 Dec 2005 12:32:35
Charlie and His Orchestra
In the 1930’s the Nazis had the same love/hate relationship with swing music. They outlawed it on their homefront, throwing it into the category of “degenerate” art. But at the same time, they employed it in the service of the fatherland. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, assembled a fairly competent swing band called Charlie and His Orchestra to perform Nazified versions of the jazz hits of the day. Led by an English speaking German, Karl Schwendler, Charlie and His Orchestra broadcast on the medium-wave and short-wave bands throughout the 1930s to Canada, the US and Britain.
The idea was to lure the masses in with the irrestible tonic of swing music and then slyly work in the anti-Jewish, American and British lyrics after the second or third verse. The broadcasts of Charlie and His Orchestra were not available in the Fatherland proper, but that only enhanced their legend, and they picked up an underground following in Germany as well.
I had no idea that Hitler sponsored swing. I know they despised it, but I didn’t know they used it as propaganda. Interesting, and it follows something I have been thinking about while watching the Showtime show “Sleeper Cell.” The bad guys on that show fund their terrorism through selling drugs, prostitution, etc. It’s odd how extremists can justify using the very thing they claim to hate to further their own cause...but then we see it every day in America today. Look at a guy like Michael Moore. He claims to despise those who lie, and yet...he’s one of the biggest liars and charlatans since P.T. Barnum.
Extremism isn’t really a very mentally healthy thing, is it? ;)
Anyway, you have to hear some of this. Here’s volume one, and here’s volume two. You can see some discussion of Charlie and His Orchestra here. Also, if you’re a Digg user, why not digg this story so more people can find this stuff?
Posted by JimK at 12:32 PM on December 10, 2005
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Categories: Entertainment, Music, War
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