During times of war, people turn to music for comfort and entertainment. Music has the ability to affect emotions and can be used to calm people or incite them to riot. In Germany during World War II, some popular styles of music were banned to prevent their influence on the German people. Other music was encouraged and gave people a sense of patriotism.
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During World War II, jazz was popular in the United States and Europe. Germany banned jazz along with most popular foreign music. Jazz was accused of being too sexual for German youth and encouraging lewd behaviour. Despite this ban, underground jazz clubs became popular with young people. Disguised as bars or dance clubs for traditional music, these clubs created a place for people to come together and dance to the latest jazz.
Hitler's Nazi Party utilised music to elicit an emotional response from people. New instrumental pieces were created to be played when Hitler appeared in public and for military events and marches. Besides these official political songs, popular songs were created about the lives of German soldiers in battle. These songs were often sung by military men while they were on the battlefront. Music was also used to encourage the troops.
Most foreign music, especially music from America, was banned in Germany during World War II. Foreign music was accused of having a bad influence on German youth. Dance halls began playing polka music, an energetic style of music and dance. Marlene Dietrich was popular around the world during World War II but most Germans weren't aware of this German actress and pop star since she fled the country at the beginning of Hitler's regime.
Music has always played a large part in propaganda. With its ability to influence people's moods and feelings, music is a vital tool for those wishing to guide a country toward their goal. Hitler's regime used propaganda music to spread fear of Jews and other minority groups. Songs declaring the greatness of the Aryan people encouraged citizens to believe Hitler's speeches and declarations. Children were taught propaganda songs to indoctrinate them at a young age.
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