Groucho Marx

Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx  (October 2, 1890 – August 19, 1977) was an American comedian with a devilishly-quick wit and and somewhat off-color humor. Marx had a long stage and screen career, making 13 feature films with his brothers. Groucho walked with an...

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Voice of America Calls USSR

Established in 1942 for Allied propaganda broadcasts during WWII, the Voice of America (VOA) continued broadcasts after the war aimed mostly at Western Europe.     In September 1947, VOA began broadcasts aimed at the Soviet Union with: “Hello! This is New...

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Censorship WWII USA

This 1944 U.S. Army instructional film about censorship incorporates the humor, sexuality and racism of the time. During the war, U.S. government control of the news by the Office of War Information was comprehensive. All correspondence between active duty military...

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U.S. Pilot Defects

For years a devotee of the ultra-conservative radio ministry of Father Charles Edward Coughlin, a 23 year-old USAAF P-38 pilot named Martin James Monti defected to the Axis powers in October 1944. Why a young American might actually defect to the Axis is hard to...

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American Music WWII

Unlike songs popular in America during WWI , many WWII songs focused more on romance and strength instead of patriotism. Particularly popular, were singers included Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, the Andrews Sisters and Bing Crosby. Listen on YouTube to these popular...

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Censorship – USA

We were all a part of the War Effort. We went along with it, and not only that, we abetted it. Gradually it became a part of all of us that the truth about anything was automatically secret and that to trifle with it was to interfere with the War Effort. By this I...

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Gee

Gee was the code name given to a hyperbolic navigation system  introduced by the RAF in 1942. Based on the difference in timing between the reception of two signals, Gee produced a "fix" on a target as far away as 350 miles, with accuracy > several hundred feet.   For...

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Nazi Radio

  In the 1930s, most european radio stations were controlled by a government monopoly with emphasis on political programs. When Hitler came to power in 1933, the Reich Broadcasting Corporation became the major propaganda vehicle for the Nazi party. From 1933-39, the...

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Axis Sally

Axis Sally was the generic nickname given to female radio personalities who broadcast English-language propaganda for the European Axis Powers during World War II. Mildred Elizabeth Gillars, nicknamed "Axis Sally," was an American broadcaster employed by Nazi...

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Listen, Germany!

Wikimedia Commons In 1940, Thomas Mann, the exiled German winner of the 1929 Nobel Prize for Literature , began recording 5-8 minute monthly radio broadcasts via BBC long-wave radio under the title “Deutsche Hörer!” ("German Listeners!”). After the RAF firebombing of...

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Lord Haw-Haw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPJ8IGeDPq4 Lord Haw-Haw was a nickname applied to William Joyce whose Nazi propaganda broadcasts began with "Germany calling. Germany calling." Joyce spoke in a nasal, simulated upper-class British accent with a  sarcastic and often...

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Tokyo Rose

Tokyo Rose was a generic name given by Allied troops in the Pacific War to several English-speaking female broadcasters from Japan. Intended to undermine the morale of Allied listeners, Tokyo Rose often delivered news scripts in a playful, sexy, tongue-in-cheek...

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Abbott & Costello

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTcRRaXV-fg Comedians Bud Abbott and Lou Costello teamed up in 1936. During the next few years, they performed on the burlesque circuit, perfecting their routines such as their famous baseball sketch “Who’s on First? In many ways,...

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FDR Fireside Chat

  "It is nearly five months since we were attacked at Pearl Harbor. ...American warships are now in combat in the North and South Atlantic, in the Arctic, in the Mediterranean, in the Indian Ocean, and in the North and South Pacific. American troops have taken...

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Censorship in Wartime Japan

Since feudal times, the Empire of Japan had a long tradition of censorship of political discourse. In 1936, the Information and Propaganda Committee issued all official press statements and worked with the Publications Monitoring Department to censor all types of...

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Rise of Japanese Nationalism

The motion picture 永遠のゼロ。(The eternal Zero) released in December 2013, was adapted from a novel about a young man searching for information about his grandfather's WWII special forces duty. The ultraconservative author of the novel,  Naoki Hyakuta was recently...

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U.S. Censorship

After the Pearl Harbor attack, the American press began voluntary censorship.  On December 8, 1941, the First War Powers Act  granted broad  powers of wartime executive authority, including censorship. Executive Order 8985 then established the Office of Censorship and...

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Quiz Kids

Beginning in 1940, listeners sent in questions to the popular NBC Quiz Kids show.  

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Town Meeting of the Air

From 1935-1956, NBC's  America's Town Meeting of the Air reached ~ 3 million listeners and more than 1,000 discussion groups debating the issues across the nation. Listen here  ...

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War of the Worlds

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfNsCcOHsNI&feature=player_detailpage#t=1s On the night before Halloween 1938, a radio drama by the Mercury Theatre on the Air (styled as a newscast)  reported that a Martian invasion of earth was taking place. Countless frightened...

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Father Charles Edward Coughlin

With a rich mellifluous voice, Father James E. Coughlin, a Roman Catholic priest in Michigan, broadcast a weekly radio show that was followed by millions during the Depression.  Staunchly anti-Communist, he warned of the "Bolshevism of America." Although he supported...

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Fireside Chat

Upon election, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt immediately began to institute a series of aggressive governmental actions designed to ameliorate the Great Depression. To calm the public and gain support for his New Deal programs, he gave folksy "Fireside Chats"...

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What Evil Lurks in the Hearts of Men?

With a sinister laugh, the announcer known as The Shadow intoned: "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!"   The Shadow was a collection of serialized dramas adapted from pulp novels in 1930s. Over decades, The Shadow has been featured on...

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Radio Gymnastics Japan

                    Inspired by similar broadcasts on American radio, early morning calisthenic exercises set to music were broadcast on public NHK Radio in Japan. These morning exercises are still popular...

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