Music as Propaganda

To get myself into the spirit of my upcoming book launch (Friday, January 13th, at McNally Robinson's, Grant Park and online), I’ve been listening to some music that inspired me while I researched and wrote Crow Stone. After all, next to the sense of smell and the taste of food, what can be more memorable than a little music? At the bottom of this post, I’ve including links to some evocative, war-inspired songs that the characters in Crow Stone might have been familiar with. 

Tango dance pattern:  Hyancinth: CC

Propaganda, whether through music, film, print, youth groups or schools, saturated German society under the Nazis. As the war faltered, the propaganda machine grew louder and more ubiquitous trying to bolster morale.  As Putin is currently discovering, an army with low morale is a losing army. 

Why does music have such power? Perhaps it’s for the same reason why good fiction has power. It's about emotion. It’s through the lens of emotion that we experience our world. 

Which reminds me, I’ve got a new word to guide me through 2023. It’s gratitude. Is gratitude an emotion? I know that it’s a lens that lets me see the world with hope and with positivity. 

Perhaps you might enjoy the music with me as I share my re-living, re-telling, re-visioning of the hell experienced in 1945 throughout parts of eastern Europe.  Seen through the lens of the doomed women and children inside the imploding Third Reich, it was a time when the propaganda of music made a mockery of the very lives it was trying to control. 

Schön ist die Nacht by Kurt Widmann (p. 28, Crow Stone)

Lili Marleen: originally by Lale Anderson (p. 28, Crow Stone)   or by Marlene Dietrich (p. 47, Crow Stone)

Zarah Leanders, 1931
Ich weiß, es wird einmal ein Wunder geschehen:  by Zarah Leanders (p. 8, Crow Stone)

There's a bit of Christmas music scattered throughout the book, too. It's a great irony that a culture that birthed the Second World War with its brutal atrocities, also birthed Silent Night and other beautiful Christmas songs.  But who wants to hear Christmas music in January?  Suffice it to say that Hitler and Silent Night were born in the shadows of the same Austrian mountains. 

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