Culture and Propaganda in World War II: Music, Film and the Battle for National Identity (Paperback)

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The wartime period in Britain is viewed as an extremely fertile period of British creativity in music, film and art. Often these projects were funded and supported by the government, who understood its role as a custodian of British culture and, by extension, of British values at a time where those values were under threat. In the late 1930s, the Nazi Party had stressed the superiority of Germanic culture and the promotion of Richard Wagner and Carl Orff was central to Hitler's cultural program. In Britain, the War Office under Winston Churchill chose to promote Edward Elgar and Hubert Parry, but also to appropriate and 'de-Nazify' Ludwig van Beethoven, whose Fifth Symphony was used extensively in wartime broadcasts and has since become synonymous with VE Day. Meanwhile, the work of Ralph Vaughn Williams, whose music was commissioned by Powell and Pressburger for use in 49th Parallel, reclaimed a particularly English past stretching back to the Tudors.

While artists such as John Piper, Eric Ravillious and Evelyn Dunbar produced works specifically commissioned by the state, which were intended to commemorate and glorify Britain, the British Council and the BBC played an active role in commissioning and broadcasting their musical equivalents. In film, Humphrey Jenning's documentaries were designed to further push the wartime agenda, along with films produced by Ealing Studios. Using detailed archival research, John Morris sheds new light on wartime Britain and provides essential reading for historians, musicians, film scholars and propaganda analysts of this period.

About the Author

John Morris is an expert on music and film in the Second World War period, and holds a PhD in English from the University of Exeter.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781350159068
ISBN-10: 1350159069
Publisher: Continnuum-3PL
Publication Date: April 30th, 2020
Pages: 256
Language: English

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