The Media and the Second World War: From Integration to Disintegration
This chapter shows how the war years witnessed a dramatic intensification of the ongoing tension between the integrative and disaggregating social potential of the mass media. On the one hand, the overall trend towards a more ‘common culture’ saw its apogee during the early years of the war as popular demand for film, radio, and the press soared. On the other hand, after 1942/3 the socially divisive potential of the media once again came to the fore in terms of content as well as the radical shifts in the wider societal context and how the media were consumed by audiences. Whereas the early war years witnessed an unprecedented social integration of audiences, after 1942 patterns of leisure and media consumption reflected the multiplying signs of social disintegration on the German home front.
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