This is How the Government Entertained the Troops during World War II
This is How the Government Entertained the Troops during World War II

This is How the Government Entertained the Troops during World War II

Larry Holzwarth - December 26, 2021

This is How the Government Entertained the Troops during World War II
Title card for Private Snafu, an army recruit in the mold of Sad Sack, chiefly valuable for pointing out the wrong thing to do in a humorous manner. Wikimedia

20. Entertainment provided valuable training for recruits and veterans

All branches of the military used films as a means of providing training to their members, some serious in nature, other comedic. Some used live actors in various scenes and vignettes, others relied on animation. A series of Army short films starring Private Snafu addressed subjects such as avoiding scams, sexually transmitted diseases, enemy agents and spies, and other potential pitfalls of military life. The Snafu shorts were written by Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss), and voiced by Mel Blanc (Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny, Foghorn Leghorn, and many, many more). A Navy version, featuring Seaman Tarfu, was also created, but for the most part Navy recruits watched the Snafu shorts. They can be watched on Youtube and other sites, and they are solid evidence that political correctness in the 1940s was considerably different than in the 21st century.

Bolstering morale by entertaining the troops was a massive undertaking during the Second World War, yet even with all that was accomplished by volunteers and the military, boredom remained a dominant factor of military life. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines all sought other means to alleviate it, with varying degrees of success. The USO formed at the request of President Roosevelt has remained in operation ever since. So has Armed Forces Radio. So have efforts to provide the military with first-run films and other forms of entertainment. Since World War II, in peace and in times of conflict, providing quality entertainment to troops overseas as well as at home has been a major endeavor by the Armed Forces of the United States. Today’s USO and military use state of the art technology to address the issues of keeping the troops entertained and informed.

Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“The USO incorporates itself in New York, February 4, 1941”. Andrew Glass, Politico. February 4, 2013

“Here’s How the First USO Centers Were Created”. Paul X. Rutz, USO.org.

“How Ensa Entertained the Troops During World War II by Andy Merriman Review”. Neil Norman, Express. April 5, 2013. Online

“Command Performance”. Article, Jim Ramsburg’s Gold Time Radio. Online

“During times of war, Fort George G. Meade was the morale booster”. Kevin Leonard, Baltimore Sun. March 19, 2020

“Hollywood went to war in 1941 – and it wasn’t easy”. Larry Margasak, National Museum of American History. May 3, 2016

“The Hollywood Canteen Wasn’t Just A Movie”. Article, Old Soul Retro. Online

“Sports, World War II”. Article, Encyclopedia.com. Online

“America’s Vices in World War II”. Barry Silverstein, History of Yesterday. September 27, 2021. Online

“Reflections: Some ‘em if you got ‘em”. Artlcle, Army History.org. Online

“Why Marlene Dietrich Was One of the Most Patriotic Women in World War II”. Danielle DeSimone, USO.org. March 5, 2020. Online

“Major Glenn Miller, US Army Air Forces”. Article, The National Museum of WWII, New Orleans. December 10, 2019

“Camp Life”. Article. Guests of the Third Reich. Online

“At 90, Honolulu’s Royal Hawaiian Hotel is still pink and oh-so-dreamy”. Jay Jones, Los Angeles Times. February 1, 2017

“So Ready for Laughter: The Legacy of Bob Hope”. Exhibit, The National Museum of World War II, New Orleans. Online

“Brigadier General James M. Stewart”. Exhibit, National Museum of the United States Air Force. Online

“The Organization”. Article, USO.org. Onlinerest and

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