Ex. 4.2: The British Landscape during World War II

I read an extract from the essay, ‘Landscape for Everyone’ by John Taylor from, ‘A Dream of England: Landscape, Photography and the Tourist’s Imagination’. Here is a summary:

  • Englands landscape has “a mystical sense of the past”. The countryside is a sign of patriotism but is not particularly nationalistic. Looking at these landscapes is like looking into the country’s past.
  • There were concerns that industrialisation would ruin the countryside, as “black blots on the landscape”. Fear of “blackened or suburban England” changed in the 1940’s to fear of German invasion. To counter this, the “unconquered” countryside became propaganda.
  • By 1940 the countryside had become much less inviting. Most public and private signage was removed and as a whole, the countryside became, “[blacked-out] and camouflaged”. Unlike the fiction of propaganda, the reality was a “bleak refuge or blacked-out interval between destinations”.
  • As such, the country’s rural simplicity had to be “remembered”. The countryside was sold as idyllic and worth fighting for. This was in contrast to Germany; of industrialisation “run-amok”.
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