World War II (detail from Pearl Harbor photo)

Morale Boosters

USO Shows

The United Service Organizations (USO) sponsored many of the shows that brought welcome relief to homesick and battle-weary soldiers, sailors, and airmen. The big events featured stars like Bob Hope, the Andrews Sisters, or Marlene Dietrich, but even visits by struggling singers and three-ball jugglers caused troops to erupt in cheers, laughter, and applause. The USO also operated more than 3,000 centers stateside and overseas. Every day they offered troops a host of social services, as well as opportunities for rest and recreation—a simple cup of coffee or a swinging dance.

Irving Berlin in New Guinea, 1944

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