Chapter

<b>The Post-War People’s Empire</b>

WENDY WEBSTER

in Englishness and Empire 1939-1965

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780199226641
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191718069 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226641.003.0003
The Post-War People’s Empire

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This chapter shows how adventure tales of the Second World War in the 1950s offered a new energizing myth of nation. If wartime imagery represented a high point in inclusive imagery of Britishness, the reworking of Second World War narratives from a ‘people's war’ to a ‘hero's war’ produced a far more exclusive story. The inclusiveness of wartime imagery had been, in part, a product of the need to recruit to the war effort. The shift to an exclusive story of national greatness in the 1950s meant that Second World War imagery took over the territory which empire imagery vacated, and in the 1950s, the war film bore more resemblance to the pre-war empire genre than the post-war empire film. Second World War narratives, transposing manly and high-minded heroes from an imperial to a Second World War setting, offered a new myth of national destiny.

Keywords: war; empire; British culture; people's war; people's empire; Second World War narratives

Chapter.  17130 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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