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Listening behind the Curtain: BBC broadcasting to East Germany and its Cold War echo

Major, P. (2012) Listening behind the Curtain: BBC broadcasting to East Germany and its Cold War echo. Cold War History, 13 (2). pp. 255-275. ISSN 1743-7962

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/14682745.2012.746840


This article considers the BBC External Service's East German wing, which broadcast from 1949 on, focusing on the continuities in broadcast techniques between wartime anti-Nazi programming and slots such as 'Two Comrades' and 'The Bewildered Newspaper Reader', both of which replicated pre-1945 formats. The role of the Foreign Office, both as cold warrior in the 1940s and force for detente in the 1970s is included. The article also investigates the response from German listeners to the BBC's external service broadcasting in the 1950s and 1960s. The BBC paid special attention to its German listeners, and has preserved a large number of original letters at the Written Archive at Caversham, as well as conducting regular listener surveys. These considered whether Britain's democratic agenda was getting across in the late 1940s and 50s, but the author also considers to what extent German listeners were pressing for a harder stance in the Cold War or were urging caution on the great powers deciding their fate.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Modern European Histories and Cultures
ID Code:30983
Additional Information:Special Issue: Radio Wars: Broadcasting during the Cold War


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