The Second World War is considered the bloodiest war in humanhistory. In its wake came massive destruction of property andunprecedented loss of life. Irrespective of that, this torrid timewitnessed the rise of a star in the form of a love song, ‘LiliMarlene’. Lili Marlene stamped itself as the most prevalent song ofthe Second World War. Central to this popularity was itsacknowledgement by both British and German forces. Gracing its rootsto 1939, World War 2 began in Europe due to friction among Germanyand its neighbors. Adolf Hitler, the nation’s supreme leader, wasseeking revenge for humiliation in the First World War. The small warhowever culminated in alliances of great global powers that formedtwo opposing forces: the Allies and Axis. Millions of people acrossthe world lost their lives by the end of the war in 1945. It was alsomarked by the holocaust and atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.Irrespective, it paved way for peaceful provisions and mechanismsthat have been enforced world-over to this day.
‘Lili Marlene’ was published right before onset of the war in1937. The song is based on a 1915 poem by Hans Leip, which he wroteas a soldier in the First World War[ CITATION Tel08 l 1033 ]. Thepoem was published in 1937 under the tag name‘The-Song-of-a-Young-Soldier-on-Watch’. It was then set to musicin 1938 by Norbert Schultze with the first recording by Lale Andersentaking place in 1939. The original song was in German but wastranslated into English by Norman Baillie-Stewart in 1942. AnotherEnglish version of the same song was released in 1944 by TommieConnor under the title ‘Lily-of-the-Lamplight’.
The song was mainly propagated by a German radio station known asRadio Belgrade, which had been acknowledged as the German force’sradio station. The songs foundation, Leip’s poem, was set in thepreceding world war. This is perhaps the reason it became popularamong soldiers in the following war. It expresses the soldier’sanguish of leaving his loved one whilst going to war. The song’srelease was timely as the onset of a similar war was looming large.It sought to create an impression of how such a war leads to anguishand horror, one that is not worth the fight for ‘national pride’.It quickly became a favorite among the troops and was subsequentlyplayed on a frequent basis. Axis soldiers even went to the extent ofrequesting the song be played over and over again. The song’s maingoal was to stop an impeding war, which was unsuccessful. It,however, acted as an anchor and pillar of hope for soldiers in thebattle field, becoming very popular in the process.
The original song was sung by Lale Andersen in German although othertranslations soon followed. The lyrics describe a soldier in anguishfor being away from his loved ones. It also depicts tribulations thattake place in the battle field. Nevertheless, it is generally a lovesong that gives hope to soldiers and their families of better days tofollow despite prevailing troubles.
Lili Marlene is a jazz/ pop genre with a soft texture. The primaryinstrument used in the song is a violin and a piano. The song has aconjunct melody that intertwines harmoniously whilst incorporating alow range. These attributes make it noticeable to anyone who hearsit, first time or familiarized.
Telegraph. (2008, October 11). The Story behind the song: Lili Marlene. Retrieved from The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/3561946/The-story-behind-the-song-Lili-Marlene.html
Link to song:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBi5j7yPwd0