This article said it all honestly and without flowery metaphors - plainly stating the facts that if American military personnel were not provided some wholesome distractions, they would simply loiter around barrooms and whorehouses during their leisure time and become a drag on society.
"Together [these entertainers] constitute the vast composite known as USO-Camp Shows, Inc. Organized in November, 1941 as this war's answer to the last one's mistakes (too little which came too late to too few), Camp Shows see to it that as much entertainment as possible reaches as many soldiers as possible - in contrast to the fact that the last war produced only an Elsie Janis (You can read about her here)... The money to run Camp Shows comes from the National War Fund; the authority to use its services rests with the Army and Navy."
Attached is a 1944 article from Click Magazine about the touring performers of the U.S.O. during the Second World War. Illustrated with eight photographs picturing many of the most devoted and well-loved of the Hollywood entertainers (Bob Hope, Martha Raye, Al Jolson, Jack Benny, Wini Shaw) the article, by celebrated newspaper critic Leonard Lyons, goes into some detail as to the deep sense of gratitude these show people felt and how happy they were to give some measure of payback. It was estimated that the U.S.O. performed 293,738 shows by the time the war reached an end.
A post-game interview with Hollywood star Marlene Dietrich (1901 – 1992) concerning all the many places throughout the European Theater of Operations that she performed before Allied audiences, at times performing very close to the German front line.
Marlene Dietrich's only daughter, Maria Riva Dietrich (b. 1924), wrote that her mother, feeling a deep sense of pity and gratitude, made love to a very large number of front line soldiers.
Click here to read about the woman who entertained the U.S. troops during the First World War.
This is one of the more enjoyable reads on the site. Published during the Summer of 1945, with the war in Europe over and the Japanese capitulation only six weeks away, the Liberty editors saw fit to run an article that recalled the absolute devotion that so many USO performers displayed again and again in order to guarantee that American military personnel abroad was fully entertained and amused - no matter their proximity to the enemy.
They're not with the U.S.O. but the barracks-happy GIs were delighted to see them just the same.
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