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WW II uncovered
WWII uncovered: Marlene Dietrich: The Allied Secret Weapon
Marie Magdalene Dietrich was a German-born actress and singer who performed throughout Berlin during the 1920s. Known as Marlene Dietrich she acquired International fame in 1930 with the role of Lola-Lola in the German film "The Blue Angel" - her performance led to a contract with Paramount pictures. Under the direction of Josef von Sternberg, Marlene became an International star and the pride of Germany. In 1937 she was offered official status in Germany as a premier entertainer but Marlene turned the offer down and promptly applied for American citizenship in 1937 and moved to Hollywood California.
In 1939, now an American citizen, she renounced her German citizenship and was soon contacted by William J. Donovan who was tasked with establishing a premier intelligence unit called the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Donovan recruited Dietrich to use her voice to record a series of German language songs for the OSS Morale Branch. She recorded the songs “Time on My Hands,” “Mean to Me,” and “Taking a Chance on Love” in German to demoralize German and Italian troops. The US Strategic Bombing Survey said “the programs were just as devastating to German morale as an air raid.” (United Service Organization)
According to the USO: "Marlene Dietrich Dietrich went on two USO tours during World War II, traveling first to North Africa and Italy, where she was the first entertainer to reach rescued Allied soldiers in Anzio, and then later to France and Germany, with this second tour lasting 11 months, beginning just on the heels of D-Day."
In 1947, Dietrich was awarded the Medal of Freedom for her wartime service and the National Order of the Legion of Honour by the French government. Marlene Dietrich died in Paris, France on May 6, 1992 at the age of 90. She lies in rest at Städtischer Friedhof III in Berlin next to her mother. Lest We Forget.
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Original description and photos sourced by USO, US Signal Corps and Ancestry Database
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