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'Fighting from the fields’: developing the British ‘National Farm’ in the Second World War

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  • D. Harvey
  • M. Riley
The Second World War had a profound impact on British Agriculture, with state intervention at an unprecedented level cementing the idea of a ‘National Farm’ in both the popular and the governmental psyche. Critical attention has recently begun to refocus on this period, adding to the somewhat celebratory meta-narratives written in the official histories. Drawing from the practice of micro-historical research and recent work in geography that seeks to understand the production of the landscape ‘from within’, this paper explores how ‘small stories’ can afford an appreciation of the ‘complications of everyday existence’ and bring greater depth, nuance and understanding to these ‘larger’ historical events and their influence on the British countryside. Utilising oral histories from farms in Devon (UK), the paper explores the micro-geographies which shaped as well as destabilised the national farm message as it was translated into the local context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-516
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Historical Geography
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009

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