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Music Wars 1937-1945



Original Language: English (UK) | 422 pp. | 2013

2 Seas Represents: Dutch and French Rights.

Rights Sold: Germany (Laika Verlag).


Music played an unprecedented role in World War II. Whether live or through the recently developed mechanical media of radio, film and gramophone records, it was used by all sides for propaganda and morale-boosting. The Bayreuth Festival opened its doors to war-wounded and munitions workers. In Paris on one day alone, 16 January 1944, a choice of eleven major musical events was offered to occupiers and occupied. Everywhere classical music flourished and reached new audiences.

The mightiest musical weapon of the war was Swing, an irresistible force that even the Nazis attempted to harness. Ultimately the music that most potently evokes the emotions and experiences of the war is that of the sentimental songs of loss and separation—Vera Lynn singing “We’ll meet again,” Zarah Leander singing “Ich weiss eswird einmal ein Wunder geschehen” and of course, the song that changed sides: “Lili Marleen.”