How did the relationship between the Government and the Press function during the Second World War? (3rd year dissertation)
My history dissertation examined the relationship between the Government and the Press in Britain during the Second World War. It sought to shed further light on a surprisingly neglected but important segment of Britain’s wartime experience. My research revealed a surprising hostility towards the Press from the Government side, which particularly revealed themselves in the writings, letters and committee minutes of official communications. The Prime Minister himself, Winston Churchill, appeared to be overly hostile towards the Press, and on several occasions, threatened the likes of the Daily Mirror with closure. The crucial influence of public opinion, and an official fear of public backlash seems to have been what prevented politicians from executing on the Press their desired fate. Conversely, Mass Observation research revealed that the public were often also hostile towards the Press, and repeatedly expressed a desire for truthful reporting, which was of course impacted by the necessary censorship system that was imposed as a result of war.
I received a mark of 78 for this piece of work, and it has been entered by my tutor for an award run by the History of Parliament Trust. Her comments are below:
‘This is an excellent dissertation framed around a clear research question. It is very fluently written and is rooted in thorough knowledge of the secondary literature. A variety of primary material is effectively used to develop a coherent argument and at times the dissertation not only adds to the historiography but is able to challenge it.’
Account for Labour’s victory in the 1945 General Election
In this piece of work – a 4,000 word essay – I argued that Labour’s victory in the 1945 General Election, which came after victory in the Second World War under the leadership of the enormously popular Conservative Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, could be put down to a variety of factors. One such factor was the popular mood for social and economic reform which Labour, rather than the Conservatives, were able to align themselves with. Labour also convincingly allayed the widespread cynicism that the optimism generated by the 1942 Beveridge Report would not be acted upon. Further, Labour’s election campaign was for more effective than the Conservatives’. Finally, the Conservative Party were blamed for many of the failures of the inter-war period, which further added to the distrust of the British Public.
I achieved a mark of 80 for this piece of work. My tutor said that, ‘You were brave to take on a topic which we haven’t yet covered in class, but you’ve pulled this off brilliantly. You engage closely with the question and put forward a strong and clear argument.