Emma Hanna

in The Great War on the Small Screen

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780748633890
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671175 | DOI:

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This chapter underlines that the memory of both World Wars has occupied a central position in the most influential medium of popular culture – television. It is time for historians for recognise that it is their business to understand and analyse television documentaries as influential texts of public history, a popular form of history designed for the many as opposed to specialist academic history written for the few. If the essence of cultural history is to examine the signifying practices which might indicate how a society has made sense of the world in which they live, then historians must appreciate the aesthetic elements of history on television and not confine their analysis to factual accuracy or to bemoan to lack of historiographical discussion. If the memory of the First World War is an amalgamation of the stories which have been told about it, then television programmes are building blocks in Britain's national memory of 1914-18.

Keywords: Memory; historiography; methodology; cultural history; public history

Chapter.  2024 words. 

Subjects: Television

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