On This Day…

… in 1940, the Battle of Britain began. This was the first major battle to be fought solely in the air. Lasting from July to October, defeat would have meant the invasion of Britain and a very different conclusion to the Second World War. Instead, the allies’ victory marked a significant turning point in the war.

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On This Day…

…in 1940, the evacuation of Dunkirk began.

Code-named ‘Operation Dynamo’ and nick-named by some as ‘The Miracle Of Dunkirk,’ hundreds of boats sailed across the Channel to rescue almost a quarter of a million Allied troops who were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk in France. The rescue vessels ranged from military ships to ordinary fishing boats and even private yachts. As they would do so many times throughout the war, the British people came together in the face of adversity and triumphed.

In total, 338,226 soldiers were saved as a result of Operation Dynamo. Had the evacuation not happened, the outcome of the Second World War could have been very different.

Did Films Reflect or Shape Gender Roles in the Second World War? Part 5

While wartime films did open up passage of gender exploration for both film-makers and audiences, the war itself meant that the discourse could not be as radical or far-reaching as some might have hoped. For the sake of both national … Continue reading

Did Films Reflect or Shape Gender Roles in the Second World War? Part 4

The question of female identity inevitably encouraged both film-makers and audiences to explore ideas of masculinity, in particular the relationship between heroism and men in non-combatant roles. If men had to fight to prove their masculinity, what did that mean … Continue reading

Did Films Reflect or Shape Gender Roles in the Second World War? Part 3

A crucial concern of the wartime discourse on gender was that of duty versus desire, explored in the melodramas and Brief Encounter. L. K. Gordon of Leicester wrote to the Leicester Evening Mail in 1943 stating that ‘the war had … Continue reading

Did Films Reflect or Shape Gender Roles in the Second World War? Part 2

The anxious discourse on female mobilisation during the war also concerned the perceived necessity of protecting the femininity of these women. Gender distinctions rest largely on appearance, thus “these trouser-clad androgynies destabilised the polarisation upon which gendered identity normally rested”[1]. … Continue reading

Review: Joyce’s War

Verdict: A fascinating slice of history told from a unique point of view; Joyce’s War perfectly captures a wartime experience that is both alien yet strangely familiar to us. Though you will be left desperate to know more (Joyce introduces … Continue reading

Did Films Reflect or Shape Gender Roles in the Second World War? Part 1

Categories of social difference are identified by how they juxtapose each other. Women are women because they are not men; masculine is masculine because it is not feminine. Gender is perceived in binary terms and this relationship is highlighted in … Continue reading