The OSS (the CIA of the time) had a Morale Operations (MO) branch that began producing 'black' (propaganda) radio programs in 1943. These programs reached listeners throughout Europe and the Mediterranean and were intended to create discord in the Axis countries. In 1944, the MO began to recruit Hollywood talent to boost the quality of programming on its stations. The MO’s most popular station was Soldatensender (Soldiers' Radio), and one of the most popular songs it played was Dietrich's "Lili Marlene" with 'black' lyrics created especially for the German version. The Nazi government banned the broadcast of the song, but the ban was lifted in the face of a backlash among Axis soldiers. "Lili Marlene" soon became the song played at the end of every Soldantensender broadcast.
In 1945, the U.S. government awarded Marlene Dietrich the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the first presented. Similarly, France made her a chevalier of the Legion of Honor.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Another Side Of Marlene Dietrich
MovieFanFare blog posted a well-written article about Marlene Dietrich that not only addresses her film career, but also discusses other aspects of the legendary actress, including her work supporting the Allied war effort during World War II.