Total Listening in the Second World War
This chapter takes the case study of the Second World War to trace the progress of the various “ways of hearing” outlined so far in the book. The chapter focusses on national sounds and national hearing as features of sonic modernity, tracing the war’s influence on attempts to shape the auditory space of the nation. It shows how the noise abatement movement dealt with the war, taking civil defence workers out of the city for quiet rest breaks in the countryside, and considers the meaning of different wartime sounds, such as bomb noise and church bells, to the wartime nation. The chapter argues that wartime citizens were situated as hearers and directed towards “healthy” ways to hear the war by different auditory experts.
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