The British media discourse evolved during the first two years of World War II, as state narratives and censorship began taking a more prominent role. I trace this shift through an examination of newspapers from three British regions during this period, including London, the Southwest, and the North. My research demonstrates that at the start of the war, the press featured early unity in support of the British war effort, with some regional variation. As the war progressed, old political and geographical divergences came to the forefront in coverage of events such as Prime Minister Chamberlain's resignation. The government became increasingly concerned about the grim portrayals of the Dunkirk Evacuation in the press, as Britain's wartime situation deteriorated. I argue that as censorship and propaganda increased, newspapers fell into line, adhering to state narratives and uniting behind a circumscribed version of the events that molded a heroic presentation of Dunkirk. Censorship from the government came in various forms, often utilizing softer methods such as the control of information flow and warning publications, which complied in order to appear patriotic and avoid further suppression. My analysis of these papers indicates that this censorship and unity of the press continued during coverage of the Blitz, as the media discourse became more cohesive and supportive of the government's goals.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Cook, Colin, "Building Unity Through State Narratives: The Evolving British Media Discourse During World War II, 1939-1941" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6734.