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Hear a broadcast from the Tokyo Rose, Japan’s World War II radio propaganda disc jockey
03.06.2014
07:00 am

Topics:
History
Race

Tags:
Japan
World War II
Propaganda
Tokyo Rose

Iva Toguri
Iva Toguri D’Aquino
 
The Tokyo Rose is one of the more ingenious and chilling bits of psychological warfare in human history. During World War Two, in an effort to unnerve American GI’s and lower morale, the Japanese broadcast an English-language radio show hosted by a rotating roster of female voices. “Tokyo Rose” was the generic moniker given (by Americans) to all the announcers, but the most famous voice (and probably the one you hear in the broadcast below) was that of Iva Toguri D’Aquino, an American who had the misfortune to have been caring for a sick aunt in Japan when the war broke out. After the war, she was arrested and convicted of treason—apparently being a prisoner of war was no excuse for making a radio show. She wasn’t released until 1956.

The format of the show was actually pretty brilliant; in between coy “updates” on the war, (and insinuations of Japan’s impending attacks), Tokyo Rose would play the hits of the day. The show was incredibly popular among American serviceman. Rumors circulated that she possessed insider knowledge of American military actions. Some said she named specific servicemen as recent captures in her broadcasts—this is completely unsubstantiated, of course, and popular opinion is that the myth of Tokyo Rose flourished in the bewildered minds of her targets. And it that sense, the program was a complete success; Americans did overestimate the power and knowledge of Axis Japan.

Similar programs were employed by other Axis countries, including the insidious Lord Haw Haw in Germany, but none quite had the eery charm of Tokyo Rose, whose sweet voice and romantic tunes belied a brutal war.
 

 
Bonus: I’ve also included the grotesquely racist piece of American propaganda, Tokyo Woes. The 1945 Bob Clampett-directed Warner Brothers cartoon was only intended for viewing by the US Navy. Nothing sells war quite like racism and the promise of a hero’s welcome after a quick and easy victory.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Kiss Like Ether’: Claudia Brücken’s criminally overlooked early 90s synthpop gem
12.16.2013
12:21 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Propaganda
Claudia Brücken


 
German synthpop band Propaganda were one of ace producer Trevor Horn’s ZTT Records stable in the ‘80s (the label was co-owned by Horn, British music journalist Paul Morley and businesswoman Jill Sinclair). They are primarily known for their hit singles “Duel” and “Dr. Mabuse.” Amazing group, their music still stands up well today. But what I liked most about Propaganda was one of their singers, the lovely Claudia Brücken. 

Brücken’s BIG voice was well-suited for Propaganda’s widescreen cinematic synthpop, but her dreamy 1991 solo album on Island Records, Love: And A Million Other Things, I thought was much more interesting, especially the second single, “Kiss Like Ether.” This song should have been a huge hit. Over 20 years later and it still sounds quite modern and super sexy. That it and the album it came from passed more or less unnoticed (it didn’t even chart in the UK) by most people is cosmically unfair, I think. In 2009 Cherry Red released an extended two CD set of Love: And A Million Other Things with several remixes.

Brücken concentrated on being a mother in the 1990s and was relatively inactive musically. Today she is half of OneTwo with Paul Humphreys of Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark. Together they also founded an independent record label, There(There). In 2012, during a career-spanning onstage retrospective, Brücken was joined by guests including Humphreys, Heaven 17’s Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware, former ZTT label-mate Andrew Poppy, Erasure’s Andy Bell and Suzanne Freytag and Ralf Dorper from Propaganda. The performance was released on DVD and CD as This Happened: Live at the Scala (and it’s quite good, I have it).

The “Kiss Like Ether” music video:

 
Propaganda’s “Duel”:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Food Will Win the War’: Disney’s most surreal war propaganda cartoon, 1942
10.07.2013
07:36 am

Topics:
Animation
History

Tags:
Disney
World War II
Propaganda

Food will win the war
Not just a potato twice the height of the Rock of Gibralter… a sexy potato twice the height of the Rock of Gibralter

You may be familiar with Disney’s most famous World War Two propaganda, Der Fuehrer’s Face, in which Donald Duck dreams of an alternate life under Nazi rule. It’s weird, but not nearly as weird as Food Will Win the War. During both World War One and Two, the slogan, “Food will win the war,” was bandied about to both discourage food waste and encourage an increase in agricultural yields; the idea was that the U.S. needed to remain war-ready with a food surplus. In the film, however, the slogan is invoked more as a morale booster, and the result is a confusing mish-mash of messaging.

Instead of telling farmers to produce more and families to waste less, the narrator emphasizes our current glut of food, which is really counterintuitive to a message of prudence and industriousness. It’s as if the writers got so carried away with nationalist boasting, that they forgot the actual purpose of the film. Even more strangely, they demonstrate our surfeit of food by means of very strange scale comparisons.

For instance, did you know that if we had made all our wheat from 1942 into flour, we could bury every German tank in it? And if we had made it into spaghetti, we could weave from it a fashionably nationalistic sweater-vest to clothe the entire Earth! Why would you aspire to do such a thing, you ask? Why would we knit a celestial spaghetti sweater?!? Who cares! We’re America, fuck yeah!
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Anti-Acid House propaganda from British tabloids, late 80s
04.12.2013
11:59 am

Topics:
Amusing
Drugs
Hysteria
Music

Tags:
Acid House
Propaganda


 
These anti-Acid House headlines are giving me a case of the giggles. The majority of the newspaper clippings—circa late 80s—are from British tabloids The Sun and Daily Express. I don’t think they were very effective. 

All clippings were collected by Flickr user KRS-Dan.
 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Americans are bird-eating, gun-crazed, kid-killing junkies says North Korean propaganda
03.13.2013
12:19 pm

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
North Korea
Propaganda


Unidentified American drinks a cuppa snow

Life in modern day America according to North Korean propaganda…

“This man, a former Republican candidate for Oregon who now has to get coffee, made from snow, from these trucks.”

“The weather is freezing, but the hot snow tastes nice.”

“These telephones do not work. There is no one to call.”

I’d give this one Pinocchio…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Claudia Brüecken
12.07.2009
07:50 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Propaganda
Claudia Br

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment