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date: 05 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Radio emerged as a medium of international propaganda in the 1930s, developing from a machine of nation and empire building in its first decades into a weapon of ideological projection during and after the Second World War. Examining the history of the BBC’s Empire Service and its North American Service, as well as the roots of the Voice of America in the British Intelligence infiltration of radio station WRUL-Boston, this chapter illustrates the complexities of radio’s use by nations for propaganda and reveals some of the tangled roots of our current global machinery of international communication. Concentrating on the range of persuasive communication produced at a moment of high intensity by nations not at war, but in fact closely allied, pushes the limits of what is commonly regarded as propaganda and allows an exploration of the tensions that underlie conventional definitions of communication, objectivity, and documentary form.

Keywords: Radio, mass media, nationalism, British Broadcasting Corporation, Empire Service, North American Service, Voice of America, WRUL, Second World War

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