During World War II, jazz embodied everything that was appealing about a democratic society as envisioned by the Western Allied powers. Labelled `degenerate' by Hitler's cultural apparatus, jazz was adopted by the Allies to win the hearts and minds of the German public. It was also used by the Nazi Minister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, to deliver a message of Nazi cultural and military superiority. When Goebbels co-opted young German and foreign musicians into `Charlie and his Orchestra' and broadcast their anti-Allied lyrics across the English Channel, jazz took centre stage in the propaganda war that accompanied World War II on the ground. The Jazz War is based on the largely unheard oral testimony of the personalities behind the German and British wartime radio broadcasts, and chronicles the evolving relationship between jazz music and the Axis and Allied war e orts.
Studdert shows how jazz both helped and hindered the Allied cause as Nazi soldiers secretly tuned in to British radio shows while London party-goers danced the night away in demimonde `bottle parties', leading them to be branded a `menace' in Parliament. This book will appeal to students of the history of jazz, broadcasting, cultural studies, and the history of World War II.