Tuesday, April 8, 2014

At the Music Hall: “We’re Gonna Hang Out the Washing on The Siegfried Line,” 1939

We're going to hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line.
Have you any dirty washing, mother dear?
We're gonna hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line
'Cause the washing day is here.
Whether the weather may be wet or fine
We'll just rub along without a care.
We're going to hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line
If the Siegfried Line's still there ...

As the Second World War began to rumble, the British were looking for ways to keep national moral at its highest. One of the best ways to unify the nation was through song.

A line of forts and tank defenses built by the Germans, the Siegfried Line, was more of a propaganda tool than it was a clever defensive strategy. The Siegfried line helped the Germans by ensuring the nations that were battling them were constructing their own defensive lines—thus allowing them to invade Poland. Meanwhile, the Siegfried line was a comfort to the Allies who saw it as a barrier against the Germans which, moreover, was not impenetrable.

The Siegfried Line was the subject of a popular song written in the late 1930’s by British Captain and songwriter Jimmy Kennedy to help raise morale in the U.K. The song was of comfort to the British during the Battle of France and until 1945 when the British actually were able to “hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line.”

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