Introduction: The Post-War Scene
The reorganisation of the press and broadcasting in Europe at the end of the Second World War was an essential part of the process of reconstruction. Everywhere physical damage had to be made good; plant destroyed in the fighting, by bombing, by the casual destruction of war, had to be replaced. The reactivating of printing presses and distribution systems, the reconstruction of studios and transmitters, were admittedly small tasks beside the rebuilding of railway systems, roads and bridges, and clearing of ports, the repair of inland waterways, the restoration of telephonic communications, and all the other physical repairs to houses, factories, schools, hospitals, that had to be put in hand in order to allow society to function properly again; but they were no less important. Where they differed from the other works of physical restoration was that they involved the setting-up of organisations and institutions to publish and to broadcast; these inevitably reflected the economic, social and political changes that the war had brought in its train. Only the neutrals — Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and Eire — and, of the combatants, Britain, because it had neither been fought over nor occupied, were exceptions to the rule. But they too were to experience to the full radical developments in the roles of the mass media and to see, within their individual communities, not only marked changes in newspaper reading and in listening habits but farreaching modifications to social life itself, brought about by the influence of the new medium, television. In most European countries it was a case of making a breach with the past and starting again.
KeywordsPhysical Restoration Individual Community Railway System Printing Press Lower Middle Classis
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