Browsing Faculty of Arts by Journal
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All Work, No Play…: Representations of Child Labour in Films of the First World WarThis article analyses the representation of children in short documentary films of the First World War. It suggests that, rather than adopting sentiment which might evoke emotion and mobilise public protest, the films were more pragmatic, aimed at conscripting children for the war effort. Indeed, they deployed a non sentimental approach, instead favouring military order which chimed with the predominating ‘structure of feeling’ of that period. Examining the campaign to encourage children to form part of the workforce and support the patriotic cause, this essay analyses a number of newsreel documentaries within the context of contemporaneous visual culture.
Everybody’s Business: Film, Food and Victory in the First World WarOne month after the outbreak of the Second World War, the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign was introduced in Britain in an attempt to grow more food to feed a nation in conflict, at which time the government persuaded people on the Home Front to convert their gardens into allotments in order to cultivate vegetables. Correspondingly, strategies were also created to encourage farmers to transform their land as part of the war effort. The campaign for the production of food not only concerned the need to educate in order to provide for the country, but also provided an impetus for community and patriotism. Outlining the need for home grown products and productive cultivation of the landscape, Dig for Victory in World War Two was a scheme that was professional from the outset involving the screening of numerous newsreels and documentaries in its implementation. That this plan was mobilised at such short notice owes a debt to the First World War, a period which witnessed the birth of film as official propaganda. However, the main disparity between the two film campaigns lies in their strategies for dealing with the populace. The Second World War was deemed ‘the People’s War’, using the working class as central protagonists with the aim of disregarding class difference. Alternatively, WW1 deployed upper and middle class characters in fiction films in order to educate. These practices were put into operation despite the fact that the cinema audience during this period was predominantly comprised of those fighting starvation, and indeed those actually ‘digging for victory’. This article analyses the strategies inaugurated in the cinematic food campaign in World War One in both newsreels and fiction film, and traces a trajectory to the Dig for Victory campaign in World War Two.