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Title: Radio and the performance of government : broadcasting by the Czechoslovaks in exile in London, 1939-1945
Author: Harrison, Erica
ISNI:       0000 0004 5924 2733
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis argues that the wartime broadcasts carried out by the Czechoslovak Government-in-exile in London during the Second World War constituted a performance of government in the absence of real executive or administrative power. Despite a ban on listening to foreign broadcasts in the German-occupied Protectorate and in Slovakia, the regular broadcasting slots offered to the exile government by their hosts at the BBC provided the strongest connection between the London Czechoslovaks and their audience at home. President Bend and his government exploited the possibilities offered by the medium of radio to establish their own authority and legitimacy before this audience, and to issue instructions to the population from exile. They presented listeners with an interpretation of Czechoslovakia as both a state and a nation which drew heavily on established narratives and tropes from the First Czechoslovak Republic (1918-1938) and the Czech National Revival of the nineteenth century. This interpretation offered useful historical parallels for conflict with Germany and alliance with Russia but left little room for the concerns expressed by Slovak representatives regarding a return to the shared state. The Czech-dominated focus of much of the government's broadcasting was reflected in the narrow ' and negative propaganda to Slovakia which failed to address existing issues in Czech-Slovak relations from the interwar period. Broadcasting to Subcarpathian Ruthenia, constituting the last contact between a Czechoslovak government and a region that was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1945, revealed a disorganised approach to the region and became increasingly inaccurate in its predictions of a shared future as the USSR exerted greater influence over Czechoslovak policy. The various practical and ideological constraints on the exile government, working for the recreation of Czechoslovakia from Britain and in increasing close alliance with the Soviet Union, significantly limited their propaganda and thereby compromised their wartime performance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available