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A Multi-Generational Oral History Study Considering English Collective Memory of the Second World War and Holocaust

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posted on 2012-08-15, 15:01 authored by Thomas Joseph McKay
This thesis provides a survey of the English memory of the Second World War and Holocaust using oral interviews. Drawing from work by Halbwachs on collective memory and Grele on myth-making I demonstrate how people use national collective memory to provide frameworks for their individual narratives of memory or remembrance. I will also show how various influences from media and education have contributed to promoting and sustaining some of the myths associated with the British experience of the Second World War. However, by an empirical analysis of the data I also demonstrate how different groups within the nation, especially the family setting, have emotional charged memories that differ markedly from the national collective memory. Therefore, the study also notes remarkable divergences in the ‘public’ and ‘private’ representation of World War II and the Holocaust within England. I will illustrate how certain memories and representations have been marginalised as they are not useful to the overall social cohesion of the national community, which draws a level of security from the popular British war memory. Therefore this study adds a contribution to the discourse surrounding the memory of the Second World War and the Holocaust within England.

History

Supervisor(s)

Jensen, Olaf; Davies, Martin

Date of award

2012-06-22

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Language

en

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