Music and Morale


The military recognized early on that music could keep soldiers’ and sailors’ morale up, and popular music became a way to entertain servicemen. The government pressed special records, called V-Discs (V for Victory), featuring popular artists. The recording below featured the Andrews Sisters singing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."

In 1942, popular band leader Glenn Miller convinced the Army to accept him and put him in charge of a band that could entertain the troops. After D-Day, Miller’s American Band of the Allied Expeditionary Forces (AEF) arrived in London and played concerts for troops across Europe until Miller’s disappearance over the English Channel in December 1944. One U.S. general said that "next to a letter from home, that organization [the AEF band] was the greatest morale builder in the European Theater of Operations."

The U.S. also used Miller’s music as propaganda to Germans and other Europeans behind Axis lines. The recording below, broadcast over European radio in late 1944 and 1945, featured a German announcer, Ilse Weinberger, and showcased Miller’s most famous song, "In the Mood."