chapter  6
36 Pages

Cultural Worlds

World War II highlighted the extent to which Australian audiences were exposed to a mass culture produced not just by Britain, but also by the United States. A survey of what Australian servicemen and women listened to, watched and read suggests that much originated overseas primarily in Britain or the United States; at the same time, wartime culture allowed for an assertion of Australian nationalism. Although the war years saw some attempts to improve troops' intellectual and cultural standards, the popularity and triumph of mass commercial culture with its audiences was clear. The Australian Army Education Service (AES) was keen to create a new type of reader in the context of war indeed, using the military to create better-educated men was considered to be a bonus of the war. AES library collections were also designed to encourage better reading, while still acknowledging that fact that soldiers read for recreational and entertainment purposes.