Making Music

Soldiers across time and space have enjoyed pleasant distractions from the horrors of war and the tyranny of monotony. Music has been a way of moving away from the time and place in which the soldiers find themselves and transporting them to a more comfortable time and place. The one instrument every soldier carried with him wherever he went was his voice. German soldiers sang a lot--obviously not in combat--but during downtimes when they were out of danger.  Most other instruments were hard to bring along. Nevertheless, instruments show up routinely in many photos, especially those in rear areas and barracks. Overwhelmingly the most common instrument seen in pictures is the accordion followed by string instruments such as the guitar, mandolin, or even the balalaika. You will also see men using phonographs and record players to listen to music in similar environments.  In addition to personal sources of musical entertainment, the German military had organized bands for formal occasions. These bands were famed for their marching music which is popular with reenactors today. 

These photographs and information were taken from a number of online sources and auction sites.  They are presented here for educational purposes.