Charlie and His Orchestra: Telling the Truth in Swingin’ Style

Editor’s Note: The following article is from the excellent website, Renegade Tribune. If you don’t know who Charlie and His Orchestra were, check this out. Many of the songs are spot on in exposing the All-lies. They are also very funny and the musicians are obviously talented.

The year is 1941. You’re a young boy. An English boy to be precise. The Blitz is in full force, so you’re always on edge. Those nasty Germans could get you at any moment. While at school, while at home, you are constantly aware of the fact that the war is on and that this day could be your very last. But you have one respite from reality, the radio. You make it through every day in good spirits because you know that when you get home in the evening you can listen to your favorite dramas or perhaps even some music.

Your absolute favorite genre of music is Jazz. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. Exciting, invigorating, alien! One evening, when you’re sitting in front of the radio, turning the dials and eagerly searching for something good, you hear the beginning of a song you’re familiar with, the beat is unmistakable, the tempo, the rhythm, this is it, You’re Driving Me Crazy! It’s an American song and you turn it up as loud as your parents will let you, but as you’re listening, something strange happens.

What did you just hear? Winston Churchill? Jews? What’s going on? Before you know it your father is in a fury, your mother is worried, and the radio is turned off. You, the young English boy, are left to ponder those lyrics in silence. No more radio for you tonight.

So what exactly are you listening too? Joseph Goebbles clever propaganda invention: Charlie and his Orchestra. You might be thinking that Jazz music was banned in Germany under the Third Reich, and it was, but that doesn’t mean Goebbels was so short-sighted as to think it was something totally without use. The country still had musicians who wanted to play swing music, and Goebbels was going to give them a productive way to do so, by producing propaganda. Charlie and his Orchestra was a form of psychological warfare, used by the Germans against the Allies.

Charlie and His Orchestra was led by Karl Schwendler, an English speaking German who broadcast Nazi-themed swing and big-band hits every night on the medium-wave and short-wave bands throughout the 1930s and 1940’s to Canada, the US and Britain.

Saxophonist, Lutz Templin

What Charlie and his Orchestra really showed me was that the Germans never lacked a sense of humor, even during World War 2, the darkest moment in human history. They were still able to find the comedy in everything from the British bombing campaigns against Germany, to the amoral character of Winston Churchill, and to the absurdity of the Allies support and inclusion of the Communist states of Russia in their forces. In total they recorded over 90 songs during their tenure as a band, many of which you can find on the internet today. Below, you can find some of their songs on Youtube, and there are also audio versions you can download.

In a 1928 speech, Goebbels discusses that when you learn of an idea that rings true, you can’t keep it to yourself and must tell as many as you can. The National Socialists discovered this, and spread their ideas any way they could. If you listen to the lyrics of Charlie and his Orchestra you will discover that what their “propaganda” was saying was the truth! History has flipped the role of liar on the National Socialists, and made the Allies look like they were telling the truth. Now we know that it was the Allies who were the All-Lies all that time, and the National Socialists were attempting to truthfully inform their own citizens as well as people from allied countries.

“An idea always lives in individuals. It seeks an individual to transmit its great intellectual force. It becomes alive in a brain, and seeks escape through the mouth. The idea is preached by individuals, individuals who will never be satisfied to have the knowledge remain theirs alone. You know that from experience. When one knows something one does not keep it hidden like a buried treasure, rather one seeks to tell others. One looks for people who should know it. One feels that everyone else should know to, for one feels alone when no one else knows. For example, if I see a beautiful painting in an art gallery, I have the need to tell others. I meet a good friend and say to him: “I have found a wonderful picture. I have to show it to you.” The same is true of ideas. If an idea lives in an individual, he has the urge to tell others. There is some mysterious force in us that drives us to tell others. The greater and simpler the idea is, the more it relates to daily life, the more one has the desire to tell everyone about it.

Makin’ Whoopee
The Man With the Big Cigar
United Nations Air Men

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