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British government and conservative press relations during the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939.

Meddelton, Geoffrey Philip (2001) British government and conservative press relations during the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

The subject of this thesis is the relationship between the Conservative dominated National Government and the Conservative Press in Britain during the Spanish Civil War. This thesis takes issue with previous findings that during the late 1930s the government was successful in manipulating the press. By focusing on the civil war however, it becomes clear how limited government influence actually was, even amongst its traditional allies. This was a cause of concern to a government, which realized that improved relations between Britain and the western dictator states depended to a great extent on its ability to influence the way, in which foreign affairs were reported, especially events in Spain. As a result of this study, the following conclusions can be made. Firstly, as already stated, the government was only partially successful in securing the reporting of events in a way that would not undermine appeasement, the central plank of British foreign policy at this time. Quite simply, the dictators failed to grasp the limitations of an accountable government's power in a parliamentary state. Secondly, and paradoxically, the relationship between Britain and the 'New Spain' was poor, even though British policy during the civil war had aided the victory of Franco. The conservative press bore some responsibility for this. Thirdly, the war caused divisions, which cut across established ideological lines within the conservative movement. Since party discipline ensured the support of conservatives within Parliament, it was within the press, with its freedom from government control, that these divisions were most evident. Inevitably, therefore, as the war progressed, conservative papers actually contributed to the growing anti-Franco and anti-fascist sentiment among the British public. The civil war was thus a period during which, far from achieving the support of the press for its policies, the government became increasingly frustrated as it saw its foreign policy being undermined.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: History, European, Political Science, International Relations, Mass Communications
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2100

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