Explaining bombing to children
in French children under the Allied bombs, 1940–45
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Oral narratives do not show a great deal of interaction with children's propaganda, or perhaps more accurately, interaction with children's propaganda was not related during interviews. This chapter illustrates how storytelling was used for political purposes to explain how propaganda designed specifically for children. Children were influenced by public discourse about bombing, but explanations were given subtlety and shape within private contexts. The chapter uses the themes of betrayal, friends and enemies, participation and victimhood, within the propaganda. In wartime, children could act as Trojan horses, carrying ideologies home to parents. Children were not just receptacles into which propaganda could be poured. They had cognitive agency, reacting and drawing conclusions from what they heard. Children were politically important as vehicles for ideological messages and as social actors. Anger and discomfort when discussing the Allied bombing were more evident in those less able to explain why they were bombed.


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