WWII INVOLVMENT OF ARTS IN WORLD WAR II OUTLINE: Thesis: During W.W.II, there was a great effort on the home front to help keep up morale of the troops and to provide support in any way possible. One very effective way to support the troops was by use of arts including movie stars, singers, actors, and actresses. Introduction: W.W.II, in all of its destruction, was an effort to destroy the Axis powers, and totally involved was our country, giving support in any way it could. I. Home front participation A. Sports programs B. Broadway 1. June 6, 1944 C. Movies derived from war 1. Casablanca 2. Thirty Seconds over Tokyo 3. Guadalcanal Diary II. Stars and performers helping war effort A. Bob Hope 1. U.S.O. involvement B. The Andrews Sisters III. A personal perspective on the War A. Doyle Petty Conclusion: Movie stars, singers, actors, and actresses all played an important role in the war effort, in that they kept up the morale of the troops. The Involvement of the Arts in World War II B.J. U.S. History II Mrs. Faulkner Wednesday, March 31, 1999 WORK CITED Ambrose, Stephen E. “The War on the Home front” Timeline. Nov./ Dec. 1993; p. 2-21 Ambrose, Stephen E. “The Home front” Us News and World Report . V 116 #21. H-I p. 54-60. Ledgerwood, Tom. “Attack that ended an era” WWII Remembered Dec. 91- Jan. 92. p. 48-65. The New Groiler Multimedia Encyclopedia. Groiler Electronic Publishing Inc. 1993. IBM – PC – DOS. Petty, Doyle. Personal Interview. Saturday, March 27, 1999. The Involvement of the Arts in World War II World War II, was an effort to destroy the Axis Powers. The Axis powers is the name coined to the enemies of the U.S. during World War II. These nations included mainly Germany, Italy, and Japan. The United States was involved in giving support to our troops. With the first few sporadic shots of the war, started the great effort to help our nation’s soldiers. For some the only way to help was by their talents and popularity. So started the home front participation and began the involvement of the Arts in World War II. Such artists included: actors, actresses, singers, stage performers, comedians, and instrumentalists. During World War II, there was a great effort on the home front to keep up the morale of the troops and to provide support in any way possible. One very effective way to support our troops was the use of the most popular Arts of that era. When the first bombs dropped on Pearl Harbor, the War effort took a front seat to all other programs on television, radio, stage, and even in the work place. Most factories either stopped work all together or stopped immediate production on civilian goods and began producing such goods as would help the war. In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, most people did not own televisions; so essentially radio, word of mouth, newspapers, and the weekly picture shows at the local theater were the only forms of communication from U.S. combatants to the public on the home front. People would listen to the radio, go to dances, attend concerts and private parties, all to benefit the war effort. Many people went to the movies (some 85,000,000 each week in 1945). They would go, not only to see a movie, but also to see the news reel. It was a short newscast played before the feature, giving up-to-date information on occurrences and events of troops overseas. Some popular movies during that era were: Casablanca, Thirty Seconds over Tokyo, Bambi, and The Guadacanal Diary (Ambrose). Three of the four most popular movies in 1945 were derived from the war. One of the most popular of these was Casablanca. Starring Humphry Bogart, Casablanca is a movie about the war effort in Casablanca. In some places, baseball games and racing programs were canceled. The question was raised about whether all sports events should be canceled until the war was won. With the outbreak of World War II, many of the players in America’s new favorite pastime, baseball, were shipped overseas to fight for their country. This left a multitude of fans without anything to do. This was just one of the many areas where women stepped up to fill in for their men. During World War II there was officially started a professional women’s baseball league. They played for two consecutive seasons in 1944 and 1945. They had immense popularity for a time, but when the male players returned after the war’s end, women’s baseball lost its fame. By 1948 women’s baseball was virtually unheard of (Ledgerman). New York City, the home of the bustling prosperous Broadway, became the home of hourly news reports broadcast from center stage. On June 6, 1944, Broadway shut down. The more talented and popular actors and actresses went to local boot camps and performed scenes from plays such as Hamlet, written by Shakespeare at the canteens (Ambrose). Local radio newscasts were extended, and several newscasters became famous during this era. Some of these reporters that will be remembered most, are Gabriel Hearern and Edward R. Murrow (Petty). Gabriel Hearern was a reporter for The New York Daily News, a very popular newspaper in New York City. He was well known for his editorial columns. Hearern was a bold reporter. He went out among the troops and interviewed them. He also gave detailed reports of what was going on in Europe. He first was stationed in Europe to cover the war effort there. He stayed for several months in the trenches with the soldiers. When the European phase of the conflict had settled, he moved to the south Pacific to cover stories there. It was while he was working with a group of soldiers there that he was shot and killed by a sniper (Petty). Newspapers all over the country, including the New York Daily News, threw out their lead articles for three consecutive months in 1943 and replaced it with the Lord’s Prayer. (U.S. News) The U.S. Army even began printing its own paper specifically for the military. It would include home front news, news on the World Series, reports on football games and other sporting events, jokes, riddles, and anything else that the U.S.O. thought would be of interest or help keep the troops minds off of the war. That newspaper is still in print today (Petty). The U.S.O., or the United Service Organization, was another group that commenced during World War II. It directed its efforts to the entertainment of U.S. troops, both on the home front and abroad. In the States, they were in charge of getting troops at installations such as Fort Benning, Fort Hood, and Fort Sill, involved with the public around them. They would bring in civilians, women, and dancers as entertainment for the troops. Civilian families would often invite troops that were far away from their own homes into their homes to get them off of the base, into a more comfortable environment for a weekend or so (Petty). Overseas, the U.S.O. worked concurrently with the United States at Arms Special Services to provide the troops with as many activities and as much entertainment as possible. They got such big names as Bob Hope, The Andrews’ Sisters, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, and Ginger Davis to come perform at nearby cities around bases where troops were stationed (Petty). Bob Hope annually traveled with the U.S.O., entertaining U.S. troops stationed abroad. Hope is well known for his U.S.O. entertainment tours to U.S. military bases around the world. (Groiler). The Andrews’ sisters performed several times for troops in World War II. They toured almost fifty weeks a year, doing five to six shows a day. The special services would also originate such activities as deep sea diving and off shore fishing. Many activities were planned, not only to keep troops busy, but also to help keep their minds off the brutal task of war (Ledgerman). The great effort in the war to help keep up morale of the troops was an almost unbearable task. My grandfather, Doyle Petty, fought in the U.S. Airforce, stationed in Panama. Perhaps it is that he is lucky to be alive. “The Arts played a major role in helping keep us from being depressed. Without those shows and activities, I do not know how we would have made it.” He also says that there were many other things involved (Petty). One was KilRoy. No one knows for sure who or what “Kilroy” was. There is quite a bit of speculation though about it. One of the most popular and widely accepted theorys, however, is that Kilroy was the key name of an arms inspection agent for the allies. He would stop at various military bases and check their weaponry. The popularity of the name came about because people began seeing the phrase “Kilroy was here.”, written in various places throughout Europe and the south Pacific. Rev. Petty recalls the words were everywhere. In bathroom stalls, on the sides of busses, spray painted on bilboards, written on menus in resturants, even sometimes when a soldier would go to a woman’s house to court he would find “Kilroy was here” written somewhere in her home; soldiers became fascinated with Kilroy. “It seemed no matter where we went, Kilroy had already been there.” My grandfather said. Kilroy was just one of the fads of World War II, but it was of significance because it helped ease the soldiers’ minds and gave them a little bit of joy and happiness (Petty). World War II was the first war effort that was influenced by the use of Arts, including actors, actresses, singers, and performers. It will always remain in the hearts of servicemen as a source of slight joy and happiness in their bleak and bizarre surroundings during World War II.