The USO

When servicemen (and women) needed a break, some company, and a little entertainment, they flocked to the many USO clubs that sprang up during the war around the country and in safe areas overseas.

Figure 18-1 Danny Kaye entertaining U.S. troops in Japan, October 25, 1945.

Photo courtesy of the National Archives (127-N-138204)

The USO (United Service Organizations) was founded in February 1941 when six service agencies (the Young Men's Christian Association, National Catholic Community Service, the National Jewish Welfare Board, the Young Women's Christian Association, the Salvation Army, and the National Traveler's Aid Association) decided to combine their efforts to assist and entertain servicemen stationed away from home.

USO-sponsored shows traveled the world to bring song, dance, and pretty women to the men fighting on the front lines. USO clubs were also established in war-production boom towns to help entertain exhausted factory workers.

Figure 18-2 Marlene Dietrich signing a soldier's cast at a U.S. hospital in Belgium.

Photo courtesy of the National Archives (111-SC-232989)

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