Date of Award

12-16-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

First Advisor

Ian C. Fletcher

Second Advisor

Denise Z. Davidson

Abstract

The impact of total war on the British home front from 1939 to 1945 was profound. In particular, military and economic mobilization disrupted gender relations. Men and women of different class and national backgrounds encountered each other, sometimes forming romantic relationships that strained the institutions of marriage and family. This disruption was heavily depicted in wartime British cinema, especially in feature films devoted to the home front experience. Differences of class, gender, and nationality were downplayed in order to construct a solidaristic meaning for wartime social experience, fitting for “the People’s War.” My thesis examines romantic relationships and marriages depicted in numerous British home front films. While many films featured unconventional couples of mixed class or nationality, they did not always offer happy endings. I argue that these films evince the problems of marriage in wartime Britain and foreshadow the rise in divorce that came with peace in 1945-46.

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