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GWACS Research Seminar: Alison Appleby on The British Left Intelligentsia and France 1930-1944, and Amanda Wrigley on Ancient Greece in BBC Propaganda Programmes 1939-1945

Alison Appleby on The British Left Intelligentsia and France 1930-1944

The main points which will be considered in the talk will be:

  • Ways in which British and French socialists interacted before the outbreak of the Second World War. This will mainly focus on political links and the struggle to develop a coherent response to the rise of fascism.
  • Networks that were established between the British left (especially those in the Fabian Society and the Labour Party) and their French counterparts in exile in London during the war and examples of how these worked. This will include discussion of their work on the BBC, in meetings in London and elsewhere, as well as in in the Fabian publication in France and Britain.
  • The narrative of socialist renewal that was developed between 1940 and 1944 by members of such networks: what was emphasized in this narrative, what ignored and what omitted. This section attempts to answer such questions as:  How did the British left intelligentsia and their French colleagues present resistance in France to the British people? How was post-war Europe envisaged in the writings, broadcasts and speeches of the network of British and French socialists in London during the war?  What did they believe should be the key features of post-war states run by democratic socialists? How did they discuss the future of British and French empires?

Alison Appleby worked as a teacher and manager in further education colleges for many years. She has also been a lecturer for the Open University for 20 years, tutoring courses on European history and culture.

Amanda Wrigley on Ancient Greece in BBC Propaganda Programmes 1939-1945

This paper discusses how ideas from, and ideals about, ancient Greek political and military history were employed in propaganda programmes broadcast at home and overseas during the Second World War, especially those programmes intended to shore up popular support for the wartime plight of Greece. Such broadcasts, which often placed the Axis forces in the role of ancient Persian ‘dictators’, served to boost morale at home whilst garnering support for the Allied cause through an appeal to a shared European cultural tradition. The employment of ideas and ideals deriving from ancient Greece in overseas broadcasts is also significant for the way it sought to counter similar mass media projects working to sustain Fascist and Nazi ideologies.

Amanda Wrigley is Research Fellow in the School of Media, Arts and Design at the University of Westminster where she works on an AHRC-funded project exploring and writing the history of the theatre play on British television. She previously held postdoctoral posts at the University of Oxford and Northwestern University in Illinois.

Her second monograph, Greece on Air: Engagements with Ancient Greece on BBC Radio, 1920s-1960s, will be published by Oxford University Press in 2014. She is currently, amongst other things, writing the companion volume Greece on Screen: Greek Plays on British Television. She has served as editor on four published volumes and is working on a further three. Most pertinent to today’s themes is the most recent, which presents, with introductions, a number of radio scripts written by the poet and radio producer Louis MacNeice.

The event is free to attend. Please RSVP Dr Caroline Perret [email protected]