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Title: Music and propaganda : Soviet music and the BBC during the Second World War
Author: Dee, Constance R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2676 8552
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2007
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During the Second World War, specifically after the Nazi invasion of the USSR on 22 June 1941, Britain was forced to rethink its stance on the Soviet Union. Aside from improving diplomatic relations, there was the question of how to present the Soviet Union to the British population. The Government feared that the British Left would promote Communism by capitalising on the public's new-found support for the Soviet Union, which was an understandable concern given that Communist Party membership in Britain rose from 12,000 in 1941 to 65,000 in September 1942. Steps were therefore taken by the British Government to outdo the Communist Party and its affiliates. To do this, it was decided that the endorsement of Anglo-Soviet relations might be less politically orientated and instead gravitate towards cultural achievements, allowing the issue of Communism to be sidelined. Broadcasting, having the ability to reach the majority of the population, was put to use as a way to influence and shape the thoughts of the public. This thesis presents a case study in Anglo-Soviet cultural propaganda, each chapter detailing a specific event or radio programme organised and broadcast by the BBC during the period of 1941-1945. More specifically the focus is on what Russian, and especially Soviet music, was used and for what purpose. The first chapter examines the arguments and internal correspondence surrounding the banning of the `Internationale', then the Soviet anthem, on the BBC. The following chapter demonstrates the complexities in Anglo-Soviet cultural relations by exploring a birthday concert organised by the BBC for Joseph Stalin in December 1941, at a time when the Soviet anthem was still banned. The two succeeding chapters chronicle the BBC's involvement in the celebrations of significant dates on the Soviet calendar, specifically Soviet National Day and Red Army Day. The chapter on Soviet National Day discusses the BBC's 1942 broadcast of Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky Cantata and two movements from Shostakovich's `Leningrad' Symphony; however, the main focus is an examination of a three-hour broadcast on both the Home and Forces Services of Soviet-themed programmes for Soviet National Day 1943. The Red Army Day chapter discusses Britain's celebrations for the 25t" anniversary of the Red Army in February 1943, which showcased a variety of British and Soviet music in the form of pageantry, and the less elaborate celebrations for the 26th anniversary in 1944, which used only British music. This thesis will illustrate how the media, in particular the BBC Home Service, were used to further the Government's political agenda, while at the same time shaping British culture during the Second World War and paving the way for an enhanced appreciation of Soviet music in Britain in the years to come.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available