Sunday, October 17, 2004


"In their glowing hours" Posted by Hello

Winston Churchill, days after the German surrender, May 1945:

"I wish I could tell you tonight that all our toils and troubles were over...On the continent of Europe, we have yet to make sure that the simple and honourable purposes for which we entered the war are not brushed aside and overlooked in the months following our success, and that the words 'freedom', 'democracy', and 'liberation' are not distorted from their true meaning as we have understood them..."

"We seek nothing for ourselves. But we must make sure that those causes which we fought for find recognition at the peace table...and above all we must labor to ensure that the World Organisation which the United Nations are creating at San Francisco does not become an idle name, does not become a shield for the strong and a mockery for the weak. It is the victors who must search their hearts in their glowing hours, and be worthy by their nobility of the immense forces they wield..."

"...Forward, unflinching, unwavering, indomitable, till the whole task is done and the whole world is safe and clean."

Wartime songs in the U.S., though, often revolved around a subject far more interesting and sordid: what the GIs were getting up to with native girls, from the Philippines to Trinidad.

The Andrews Sisters, "Rum and Coca Cola"

A number-one smash in spring '45, and allegedly plagiarized from the calypso singer Lord Invader, the song's fairly risque nature escaped the Andrews Sisters, or so they say now:

Maxine Andrews: "We didn't think of what it meant; but at that time, nobody else would think of it either, because we weren't as morally open as we are today and so, a lot of stuff - really - no excuses - just went over our heads. " Read more here.

Cowboy Copas, "Filipino Baby"

Meanwhile over in the Pacific War, we find a spectacle that is as old as The Odyssey --a troop ship pulling out of the Philippines (likely heading up to the meat grinders of Okinawa and Iwo Jima), filled with weary and possibly venereal sailors who have been "making love to every pretty girl they met." But one little sailor has fallen in love with his "dark-faced Filipino" and eventually marries her on the deck of his ship, or so it seems. Their son could have served in Vietnam.

"Rum" can be found on 1,003 compilations--here's one:.

"Filipino" comes from the bountiful masterpiece "The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Country Music,", an 8-LP (16 sides!) set which should be released on CD in full, not in the abridged version that's out there. Again, "Filipino" is compiled in a host of places, such as this. It's unclear if this is really a 1945 song-- it was recorded in '44, but was a hit in '46. So we'll slot it in the middle.

Churchill's 6-vol history of WWII is likely the last great literary work written by a politician. Vol II is the most exciting, and Vol VI, in which Churchill is betrayed by Stalin and from which I quoted, is the saddest.

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