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[TANGO-L] tango music and the siege of Stalingrad



Hi folks,
 I just came across this snippet in a recent history of the siege of
Stalingrad. Apparently the Russian army would drag speakers up very
close to German lines and broadcast all sorts of things, including tango
music. (I've attached an exerpt).
Can you imagine what it would be like to be freezing, starving, and
looking at death only to hear the emotion of tango music, punctuated by
rockets?

Tango as propaganda?

"The main activity of the propaganda detachment was to prepare 20- to
30-minute programmes on a gramophone record, with music, poems, songs
and
propaganda.  The programme was then played on a wind-up gramaphone, and

broadcast by the loudspeakers, either mounted on a van, or sometimes
pushed
forward on sledges with a wire running back.  Most propaganda
broadcasts of
this sort immediately attracted German mortar fire, on the order of
officers
afraid that their men light listen.  But during December, the response

became weaker owing to the shortage of munitions.

Different sound tricks were adopted, such as the 'monotonous ticking of
a
clock' followed by the claim that one German died every seven seconds
on the
Eastern Front.  The 'crackling sound of the propaganda voice' then
intoned:
'Stalingrad, mass grave of Hitler's army!' and the deathly tango dance
music
would start up again across the empty frozen steppe.  As an extra sonic

twist, the heart-stopping shriek of a real Katyusha rocket would
sometimes
follow from a 'Stalin organ' launcher.

from "Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-43" by Anthony Beevor


Sandy