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The lyrics and the melody come from the German composer for marching songs, Herms Niel (1888–1954).
Niel, who joined the NSDAP at the beginning of May 1933 and made it to the position of “leading” conductor in the Reichsmusikzug of the Reich Labor Service during the Nazi era, created numerous marching songs that were largely used for Nazi propaganda.
The marching song "Auf der Heide blüht ein kleines Blümelein" (Erika) was published for the first time in 1938.
In particular, the Reich Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels recognized popular, simple songs as a useful means of propaganda. The more the Schlager-song escaped from the harsh reality in dreamy bliss and faked a cozy love affair and pleasure idyll, the better "the true face of Nazi Germany" could be hidden behind the many soft minor tones. The conscious use of new technical mass media during National Socialism, especially in film and radio, accommodated this and quickly ensured the popularity of Nazi songs and music.
The militaristic hits and the marching songs were the "answer to the approaching war".
The composition is a marching song, a song that could be sung by soldiers (mostly marching) without instrumental accompaniment. The independent march composition shows a concise detail, as it was spread in the recordings at the time of the Third Reich: The vocal part, otherwise completely arranged as march music, is counterpointed in all melody pauses with three rapidly successive steam hammer-like drum beats (without instrumental accompaniment, this results automatically from the sound of the marching feet), which stand completely on their own without accompaniment:
A little flower blooms on the heather (xxx) / and its name is: (xxx) Erika (xxx). ... etc.
This musical idea, which at first glance does not match the lyrical and melodic content of the song, makes the composition memorable and, through its sonic similarity to cannon blows, subliminally emphasizes the character of a war song.
The particular popularity of the marching song during the Second World War is sometimes explained by the fact that it was lyrically part of a series of popular songs with German female first names, in which Wehrmacht soldiers who had gone to war could sing of their loved ones and wives who had stayed at home. The portrayal of the woman (“Mägdelein”) as “waiting, crying, devoted, loyal, and yet adored woman” corresponded to the role cliché of the “loyal caring wife” propagated by the Nazis.
Abroad, the marching song Erika was and is perceived as a “typical German song”, although to this day mostly inseparable from the German Wehrmacht; For example, in 1983, on the junta's tenth anniversary in Chile, it was part of the repertoire of the band of a Chilean military battalion in “familiar field gray with original Wehrmacht steel helmet”, which was still in the tradition of “former German military aid”.
(German Wikipedia, translated)
Yes, thanks for information, nevertheless in the lyrics there is absolutely no reference to Nazi propaganda or whatsoever. It's about a young girl, "Blümelein" and "kleine Bienelein" (little flowers and bees). The only possible word one could rely to Army or propaganda is "Heimat" (Fatherland).
In France we also have some popular songs learnt and sung by soldiers, for ex La Madelon (I myself was taught it when I was in the Army...) Although it is more explicit about Army, it's still a very gentle one, and nobody would ever have the idea of forbidding it.
this post of mine wasn't adressed at you personally.
We had a discussion about this song in the forum and have agreed to let it stay on this website although it was issued and meant as a part of the Nazi propaganda campaign in the pre war era,
but we agreed on adding an information about its political/cultural background.
Even if France, for its part, has also had problematic episodes in the area of its military and foreign policy (-> colonialism), these cannot be compared with the unprecedented crimes of the Nazi regime.
It's OK, no problem for me. I just think one should make a difference between politics and harmless lyrics. The fact that such or such popular song has been used by such or such regime doesn't make it evil for itself. But I think it's right to add a note to explain its history.
Der Liedtext und die Melodie stammen von dem deutschen Komponisten für Marschlieder, Herms Niel (1888–1954).
Niel, der Anfang Mai 1933 in die NSDAP eintrat und es in der NS-Zeit unter anderem bis zum „führenden“ Kapellmeister beim Reichsmusikzug des Reichsarbeitsdienstes brachte, schuf zahlreiche Marschlieder, die weitgehend der NS-Propaganda dienten.
Erstmals veröffentlicht wurde das Marschlied "Auf der Heide blüht ein kleines Blümelein" (Erika) im Jahr 1938.
Die bewusste Verwendung neuer technischer Massenmedien im Nationalsozialismus, insbesondere in Film und Rundfunk sorgte rasch für Popularität des nationalsozialistischen Lied- und Musikguts.
Die militaristischen Schlager und die Marschlieder waren die „Antwort auf den näherrückenden Krieg“.