Echoes of days : reconstructing national identity and everyday life in the radio programmes of occupied Western Germany 1945-1949
This thesis unfolds from the observation that, in the years immediately following the defeat of Germany in May 1945, the radio was the best-preserved and most popular medium of mass communication. It explores the implications of the radio's dominance as a medium that both crosses and helps to define the boundaries of nation and region, as well as 'public' and 'private' space during a time when the upheavals of war and occupation were restructuring both the physical space of Germany as well as its political and symbolic spaces. It examines the practices of everyday broadcasting from the Allied-controlled radio stations in the western zones of occupied Germany to show how within the radio programmes, the diverse experiences of radio listeners were able to from part of a larger narrative of 'Germanness' at a time when Germany did not exist. Chapters explore the embedding of the radio within the every mental landscape of Germany, as well as within the private space of the home. It is argued that, in maintaining the relationships between the outside public world and the safe world of the home, the radio not only represented a means of remembering a collective German past, but also one of the primary places for the negotiation of new German identities in the present. Further chapters explore the ambiguities in the visions of these spaces produced by the radio. The production of private space is examined through a discussion of women's programming, showing the way that such programmes structured the debate surrounding women's position in society around their use of the scarce resource of time. A close examination how radio programming addressed the wider space of Germany shows how by imbuing the everyday visions of the broadcast region with the symbols of Heimat, radio programmes created a vision of Germany that at once embraced modernity and gave the impressions of maintaining a link with a usable past.