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Radio Goes to War: The Cultural Politics of Propaganda during World War II

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Radio Goes to War is the first comprehensive and in-depth look at the role of domestic radio in the United States during World War II. As this study convincingly demonstrates, radio broadcasting played a crucial role both in government propaganda and within the context of the broader cultural and political transformations of wartime America. Gerd Horten's absorbing narrative argues that no medium merged entertainment, propaganda, and advertising more effectively than radio. As a result, America's wartime radio propaganda emphasized an increasingly corporate and privatized vision of America's future, with important repercussions for the war years and postwar era. Examining radio news programs, government propaganda shows, advertising, soap operas, and comedy programs, Horten situates radio wartime propaganda in the key shift from a Depression-era resentment of big business to the consumer and corporate culture of the postwar period.

Introduction: Radio and the privatization of war
Radio news, propaganda, and politics: from the New Deal to World War II
Uneasy persuasion: government radio propaganda, 1941-1943
Closing ranks: propaganda, politics, and domestic foreign-language radio
The rewards of wartime radio advertising
"Radio propaganda must be painless": the comedians go to war
"Twenty million women can't be wrong": wartime soap operas
Epilogue: the privatization of America.


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