When Dr. Sheldon Winkler retired from Temple University in January 2006 as Professor Emeritus, where he previously served as Chairperson of the Department of Prosthodontics and Dean of Research, Advanced Education, and Continuing Education, he started a second career as an author and speaker on the music of the Second World War.
Dr. Winkler attended public school during America’s participation in World War II. During music classes students at that time were required to learn the lyrics to war-related songs. If the memorization of lyrics was not required, the continual playing of war songs on the radio, on records, in the movies, and on loud speakers in and outside of stores contributed to the remembrance process.
Dr. Winkler’s mother started teaching him piano when he was very young. He formed a band in high school that played at college dances, social functions, and in Catskill Mountain hotels in New York State and Orange Mountain hotels in New Jersey until he completed college and dental school. Occasionally Dr. Winkler appeared on the radio as a soloist. While his band sometimes played music from World War II, his bandmates strongly resisted efforts
to include war songs in the band’s repertoire.
Dr. Winkler’s love of music stayed with him all of his life. He started collecting information on the music of World War II a number of years before his retirement and had several articles published in World War II History magazine. His ultimate goal was to prepare a free-standing book on the music of the war years. After his retirement from academics and research, with the encouragement of his family and former colleagues at Temple University Schools of Dentistry and Medicine, he achieved his goal.
The Music of World War II: War Songs and Their Stories, was released in March of 2013 by Merriam Press, a publisher of military history with an emphasis on World War II.
Some of the most memorable and enduring popular music of the Twentieth Century was written during the Second World War. With patriotism at an all-time high, the war effort became an integral part of the entertainment industry, creating an emotional wartime dream world of heroes, love, remembrance, reflection, and introspection. The Music of World War II tells the stories behind the origins of many of these musical compositions, some of which have survived to become standards and are popular to this day.
Among the songs reviewed are A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square, As Time Goes By, Der Fuehrer’s Face, God Bless America, Johnny Zero, Lili Marlene, Miss Pavlichenko, My Sister and I, Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition, Rosie the Riveter, The Ballad of Rodger Young, The Last Time I Saw Paris, The White Cliffs of Dover, and We’re Gonna Hang Out the Washing on the Siegfried Line.
Stories of selected World War II movies are also included in The Music of World War II. Among the motion pictures discussed are Casablanca, The Last Time I Saw Paris, This Is the Army, and The White Cliffs of Dover.
The book discusses in detail the relatively unknown relationship of the wartime New York Office of British Security Coordination (BSC) in Rockefeller Center and three popular wartime songs, The White Cliffs of Dover, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, and My Sister and I.
Dr. Winkler states that World War II was one of the most productive periods of American popular music and wartime songs were indispensable for boosting morale at home and wherever our troops were stationed overseas. He believes that “there may never be another period of time where service men and women, their families, friends, and neighbors, will be so eager to express their patriotism through popular music.” Dr. Winkler concludes with “the war is long over, but the songs live on.”
Dr. Winkler did not forget his dental background upon retirement. He is Adjunct Professor at Midwestern University School of Dental Medicine, Glendale, Arizona, and University of Technology School of Oral Health Sciences, Kingston, Jamaica.
Dr. Winkler continues to serve as educational and prosthodontic consultant to dental schools throughout the world. He is President of the American Academy of Implant Prosthodontics and also serves as Executive Director of the Academy. Dr. Winkler founded the journal Implant Dentistry, which he edited for six years, and is currently Senior Editor of the Journal of Oral Implantology. He has authored or co-authored six textbooks (including Essentials of Complete Denture Prosthodontics), and approximately 185 articles and chapters in professional journals and textbooks.
In 1992 Dr. Winkler received the International Education Award, the highest honor of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. He was awarded a Journalism Award from the International College of Dentists in 1993, and was honored by Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, in 1995 with its Academic Devotion Award.
Dr. Winkler received his D.D.S. from New York University College of Dentistry and completed his advanced training in prosthodontics at the School of Dental Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo. He resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.