Children's chant

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Feb 1 16:25:50 UTC 2005

>It was widely sung in all anglophone armies during WWII.

Right, but from what I understand the present tense would have
allowed the first line to be rendered as "Hitler # has only got one
ball".  But actually that brings up the question of chronology.
BotRK came out in 1957.  Was the tune already well-established during
WWII and just popularized by the movie?  What's the story?

>  BTW, "Goebbels" is pronounced in this unique case to rhyme with "no balls."

Indeed, but given the usual random anglicization tendencies combined
with a perhaps intentional disrespect I could imagine this
pronunciation would not have been restricted to the exigencies of


>I also heard it from a college chum in 1970.
>George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU> wrote:
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender: American Dialect Society
>Poster: George Thompson
>Subject: Re: Children's chant
>Larry Horn submits:
>>  and then there was the related (via Col. Bogey rather than Disney, of
>>  course) verse, discussed on the list some years ago,
>>  Hitler # had only one, left ball,
>>  Goering # had two but they were small.
>>  Himmler # had something similar,
>>  And Goebbals
>>  Had no balls
>>  At all.
>Brendan Behan quotes this in Borstal Boy.
>George A. Thompson
>Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
>Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.
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