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AHSS Lunchtime Research Webinar: The Control of Knowledge: British Children in two World Wars

Prof Lucy Bland

Dr Sean Lang

In the First World War, school textbooks and other publications for children and young people were used for propaganda purposes, to control their knowledge and understanding of the war, of the different nations involved and of their own roles within the war effort. After the war, textbooks switched their attention to the ways in which peace could be maintained, and entries submitted by schoolchildren to the Royal Commonwealth Society’s annual essay competition allow us to gauge how far these lessons had been absorbed.  The Second World War saw the birth to many British women and black American GIs of a number of mixed-race ‘brown babies’, whose knowledge of their origins and identity was also strictly controlled.  These two contrasting case studies provide an insight into the way wartime conditions in both wars led to the strict control of knowledge among British children.

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28 Oct 2020, 1:30 pm