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World War I
Songs of World War I



Songs of World War I
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.31

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    cohan, mademoiselle, happening, ballgame, humorous, composer, repeated, renew, endure, purpose, fans, county, backing, equipment, lines, among
     content words:    World War, Till Our Boys Come Home, Dear Mother, German Christmas, Up Your Troubles, Western Front, Bashed Bill Kaiser, Bill Kaiser, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Kaiser Bill


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Songs of World War I
By Jane Runyon
  

1     Have you ever been to a basketball or football game? Have you ever watched the cheerleaders at a ballgame? What purpose do cheerleaders serve? Yes, they are attractive. But, they also have a job to do. It is the job of the cheerleaders to get the fans into the game. They try to make sure that the fans are backing their team and sharing their spirit with the players. If interest in the game seems to be getting low, the cheerleaders start a cheer to renew the interest. How can you keep people interested and spirited during a war? There are no cheerleaders to follow.
 
2     In a war, governments want their troops ready to fight. Training can give them the skills they need. But they also need to have spirit and enthusiasm. These are emotions that must come from inside the soldier. The citizens at home must also back the troops. Without this backing from home, the soldiers may feel that what they are fighting for is not worth their effort. The people must find ways to keep morale and enthusiasm up. One of the ways that this can be accomplished is through music. Think about the music you like to listen to. Does it make you happy? Does it make you want to get up and sing or dance? Does it make you sad? Does it make you feel better when you are lonely? Music can make you feel all sorts of emotions. That is why music was used in World War I to promote feelings to the soldiers and to the citizens back home. Music becames the cheerleader.
 
3     Most of the music remembered from World War I paints a picture of what was happening in the war. Songs from Germany, England, and France were listened to on radios and phonographs all over the world. In 1915, the English were singing such songs as "Mademoiselle from Armentieres," "Till Our Boys Come Home," and "Somewhere in France, Dear Mother." The first was a jaunty marching song trying to make light of the fact that the British were away from their homes. The other two were more heartfelt songs wishing the soldiers well from their families back home. At the same time, the Germans were listening to "German Christmas in the Trenches." The families at home could picture their sons sharing the holiday with the enemy while fighting for their home pride.

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