World War II-era entertainers from the Third Reich and elsewhere.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.
Iconic Hollywood stars who served during World War II
After the Japanese attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor the entire nation joined the war effort in some way. Actors were no different. Among the millions of Americans who answered the call to join the armed services were some of the biggest names in film, leaving the comfort of Hollywood to serve their nation. Many of them had been cast in war movies, but this time the screenplay was not in their hands and no stuntmen were available to take on the most dangerous scenes. Here are some of the bravest Hollywood actors who risked their lives to serve their nation.
Walt the Quasi-Nazi: The Fascist History of Disney is Still Influencing American Life
Since the inception of the Walt Disney Company, it`s not just the iconic images, stories, and characters that have left an indelible mark on the American psyche. The rumors that Walt Disney was a Nazi abound, and though labeling him a National Socialist without proof is a bit of a stretch, there were certainly characteristics of Nazism in Disney`s politics, professional behavior, and views of social conservatism. At best, Disney could be seen as a Nazi-sympathizer. Disney also personally hosted Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl when she came to promote her film Olympia in 1938, a month after the infamous assault on Jews known as Kristallnacht.
Kristina Söderbaum, the Nazi Marilyn Monroe: Goebbels had very nice eyes, but he was a devil!
In the early 1990s, I interviewed Germans who had risen to prominence in the film industry under the Nazis. I met Leni Riefenstahl`s cameraman, the composer who wrote Lili Marleen, and the woman who could be called the Nazi Marilyn Monroe, Kristina Söderbaum. Söderbaum claimed Joseph Goebbels, head of Nazi propaganda, didn`t much like her. His taste ran to dark-haired actresses. Hitler, on the other hand, was always very pleasant to her. `I found it ridiculous to be filming when the enemy was coming nearer and nearer. One knew about the war and everything that was happening. Then, to stand in front of the camera, I felt like an idiot.`
Classic turn-based strategy games: Conflict-Series
If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include Axis Balkan Campaign, D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, and the Battle of Bulge. In addition to WWII some other time periods include Korean War, American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War. The more complex campaigns like Operation Sea Lion, Invasion of Norway, and Invasion of Japan 1945, include Naval element and handling logistics of supply flow.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store since 2011)
The Collaboration: Hollywood`s Pact with Hitler
A book written by Ben A. Urwand, and published by Harvard University Press, elicited a storm of contention on its claims about Hollywood and Hitler. Urwand has been criticized for making unsubstantiated claims that Hollywood film studios actively colluded with the Nazis to promote propaganda. Thomas Doherty, film professor and author of "Hollywood and Hitler: 1933-1939," pushed back against Urwand`s characterization of Hollywood as collaborating with the Nazis: "The word collaboration evokes an active alliance with the Nazis. It`s totally out of line with how Hollywood did business in the 1930s. Hollywood`s goal in the 1930s was 100% acceptability. They didn`t want to alienate any customer no matter if you were a KKK member or a communist."
WWII decoys: How the British film industry helped win World War II
Deception and trickery formed a big part of the World War II effort, but it was film studio tradesmen who took centre stage in the cast of thousands who helped divert German bombers away from British towns and cities. In 1939 Colonel John Turner was put in charge of constructing an elaborate network of dummy airfields and hundreds of decoy sites. The idea was the decoys, which became known as "starfish", were placed near to areas at risk of being bombed by the Luftwaffe. Whixall Moss, north Shropshire, one of 237 starfish established at the height of the war, is being reconstructed as part of a nature trail for visitors to learn about decoys.
Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939 by Thomas Dohert (book review)
The 1930s are fondly remembered as the beginning of a golden age for Hollywood. The studios were dominated by Jews who operated a highly sophisticated oligopoly - the "dream factory"- and churned out as many as a film a day. However, surprisingly little has been written about the specific reaction of Hollywood to Hitler and Nazi Germany. Into this breach, steps Thomas Doherty, a Brandeis University professor. He charts how film-makers and audiences responded to Nazism as a business, ideology and ultimately a threat.
Arshanskaya sisters survived Holocaust by playing piano for Nazi Generals
On a frigid December day in 1941, German soldiers stormed into the house at 48 Katsarskaya Street, rounded up Zhanna`s entire family and shoved them into a long line of Jews forced to march out of Kharkov. During the death march her father Dimitri Arshansky, realizing that he could not save both his girls, pulled out his gold pocketwatch and flashed it in front of a guard. He told the guard: please let his little girl go. He knew Zhanna, the adventurous one, had a chance to survive. As the guard took the bribe and she fell out of line. A few days later Zhanna was reunited with her sister Frina. To this day she does not know how Frina escaped. Later a piano tuner at the orphanage heard her play one day and offered them jobs with a musical troupe that entertained the Nazis.
Johannes Heesters, who suffered 90-years from being Hitler`s favorite actor, passes away at the age 108
A Dutch-born actor who became a favorite of the Nazi Party - and was dogged by controversy because of it for the rest of his life - has died aged 108. Johannes Heesters rose to fame in Germany in the 1930s. After the war he was allowed to keep performing because he was not involved in propaganda or Nazi activities. But his willingness to perform for Hitler`s regime meant he was treated as an outcast in his native country. "Sure, I acted in films in the Third Reich, which distracted countless people inside and outside Germany from daily life during war. I wanted to make my career and I remember well at the time how many people in the Netherlands were proud that I made a career in the huge neighbouring country. But apart from my career - and the fact that, through no fault of my own, Adolf Hitler was one of the fans of my art - what have I done?"
New biography claims Marlene Dietrich plotted to kill Hitler?
One day, according to Douglas Fairbanks, Marlene Dietrich asked for his help in an extraordinary plan. She would agree to make one film in the Third Reich, on condition that she could be alone with the Fuhrer, giving her an opportunity to kill him. Dietrich told Fairbanks: "I would gush over how I feel about him, intimating that I am desperately in love with him. I`ve heard Hitler likes me and I`m certain he would agree." Fairbanks added: "Fortunately, her idea didn`t go any further because she didn`t figure out how to complete the assassination, but she was a very brave girl and I know she would have gambled her life if she thought she had a chance of success."
105-year-old singer Johan Heesters: Hitler was a good guy
A singer whose career in Third Reich has troubled his reputation is back in the limelight after telling a tv show Adolf Hitler was a "good guy." Johan Heesters was asked by a journalist what he thought of Hitler. "A good guy, that`s what he was," he said. His wife Simone Rethel corrected him, saying that Hitler was the worst criminal in the world. "I know, doll, but he was nice to me," Heesters replied, adding that: "...through no fault of my own, Adolf Hitler was one of the fans of my art. What have I done?" Heesters was never a propagandist or anything other than an artist willing to perform for the Nazis, but some view him as irredeemable.
Dutch entertainer Johannes Heesters disputes singing for SS at Dachau camp
A 104-year-old Dutch-born singer who made his name performing in Adolf Hitler`s Third Reich is trying to clear his name of allegations he sang for Nazi guards at the Dachau camp. Johannes Heesters admits that he toured the camp in 1941, but is suing in a civil court in Berlin to have an author and documentary maker retract claims that he entertained the SS troops while there. "It never happened," Heesters said in a statement explaining his links to Nazi-era Germany on his online site. Author Volker Kuehn has no intention of taking back the allegation, which is based on a 1990 interview with former Dachau inmate Viktor Matejka.
Jo Stafford - "G.I. Jo" - was the voice of the American homefront during World War II
Jo Stafford, the singing voice of the American home front during WWII, died aged 90. Her U.S.O. tours and V-Discs (recordings made for servicemen) earned her the nickname "G.I. Jo". Her recordings pure, nearly vibrato-less voice conveyed devotion and reassurance with delicate understatement. She was the vocal personification of every serviceman`s dream girl faithfully tending the home fires while he was overseas. First as a member of the Pied Pipers, who sang with Tommy Dorsey and accompanied the young Frank Sinatra, and later as a soloist, she had a stream of hits from the late 1930s to the mid-1950s.
104-year-old Nazi-era singer returns to stage: Performed for Adolf Hitler
104-year-old Dutch cabaret singer Johannes Heesters has given a concert in the Netherlands for the first time in 4 decades - with protests and tight security around the theatre. Although Heesters says he never embraced Nazi politics, he performed in Nazi Germany for Adolf Hitler and visited the Dachau camp. Many Dutch people have never forgiven him. "He kept singing for the Nazi regime, for the Wehrmacht, and he earned millions," said Piet Schouten, of a committee formed to protest against performance. Heesters was never accused of being a Nazi propagandist, and the Allies let him to continue performing after the war.
Adolf Hitler has was a big fan of British comedy
In 1945 Albert Speer let slip the revelation that The Führer was an avid listener to the BBC. His favourite show was ITMA aka It`s That Man Again, with Tommy Handley: a vaudeville romp set aboard a fake pirate radio station called Radio Fakenburg (Radio Luxembourg). "Oh yes," Speer recalled fondly chuckling as he spoke: "The Führer loved your Tommy Handley." He then proceeded to imitate the voice of Mrs Mopp. When Charlie Chaplin`s The Great Dictator came out during WW2, a satirising of Hitler by Chaplin designed as anti-Nazi propaganda, lampooning his every pompous gesture, Hitler ordered a number of copies, watching it over and over again laughing throughout.
Vera Lynn at her 90th - Boosting the morale of World War II troops
War veterans, politicians and entertainers sang Happy Birthday to Dame Vera Lynn at a reception marking her 90th birthday. Dame Vera, the original Forces Sweetheart, was serenaded by Katherine Jenkins with two of the classic songs she used to sing to boost the morale of troops during World War II. Jenkins, the current Forces Sweetheart, sang We`ll Meet Again and The White Cliffs Of Dover at the reception at the Imperial War Museum. Dame Vera mouthed along as Jenkins sang the wartime hits for which she is so well known and appeared tearful during a short film about her life.
A Woman at War: Marlene Dietrich Remembered
"Outside the barracks, by the corner light. I`ll always stand and wait for you each night." So goes the lyric in "Lili Marlene," sung famously by Marlene Dietrich. A German from top to toe, she loathed Adolf Hitler and while WWII raged she performed on stages for U.S. near the battlefields. The movie queen who trudged, in Army fatigues, through the mud of wartime Europe, a woman who risked her life to "aid and comfort the enemy." That`s how her angry germans saw it. It is this Marlene who is celebrated in "A Woman at War: Marlene Dietrich Remembered" by J. David Riva, Dietrich`s grandson by the star`s only child, Maria Riva.
Marlene Dietrich DVD: The Glamour Collection
With Marlene Dietrich: The Glamour Collection Universal taps into one of the biggest stars of the 1930s and one of the truly most glamorous women of the 20th century, a mysterious creature of a million male daydreams. Marlene Dietrich became the Trilby to Josef Von Sternberg`s Svengali for a series of exotic romances. And she was one of the most beloved figures of WW2, reportedly associated with the song Lily Marlene by soldiers on both sides of the conflict in Europe.
The five lives of extraordinary Leni Riefenstahl
Five Lives chronicles in pictures the life of one of the 20th Century`s most extraordinary women, the notorious German film-maker, Leni Riefenstahl. Its title, Five Lives, gives some clue as to its subject`s remarkable ability to reinvent herself. The young Leni started as a dancer, touring as a solo performer until injury forced her to quit. In the 1920s she transformed herself into a film star, showcasing her beauty and athleticism. At the time it was unheard of for an actor - let alone an actress - to make the transition to director, yet Riefenstahl managed it. She made a feature film, The Blue Light, whose fans included Adolf Hitler.