The impact of the Second World War on the rural landscape of Norfolk.

Nunn, Stephen (2019) The impact of the Second World War on the rural landscape of Norfolk. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Conventionally, historians of the Second World War have focussed on political strategies, military operations, social and individual oral histories. Despite a vast secondary literature, investigations relating to landscapes of the era, other than in terms of theatres of war, are few. This thesis brings a landscape history perspective to studying the impact that the war, and particularly the military, had on the landscape and working lives of people in one English county. Landscape history is the study of the effect of human activity upon the natural environment; how communities, agriculture, industry and commerce have changed the places in which people live and work. The landscape provides opportunity and constraint; it may facilitate or complicate human endeavour. The approach benefits from its inter-disciplinary nature, being most closely associated with archaeology but crossing into social and cultural history, ecology, geology and environmental studies. It combines the study of extant and lost standing structures with documentary sources in examining the relationships between their intended function and the physical evidence in their environment. Dispositions and networks of monuments in the landscape represent powerful evidence in their own right that aid understanding of historical processes and narratives. This thesis will examine six integrated themes – anti-invasion defences, airfields, training areas, logistics and infrastructure, country houses and agriculture – each of which impacted upon the landscape in different ways in the six years of the Second World War. It will also discuss pre-history and post-war legacy in each category, to demonstrate that there is a longer chronology that informs events and outcomes. A landscape history of the war has yet to be written and this thesis aims to explore ways in which it might realistically be approached at a regional level, as an effective way of studying the range of inter-related material and physical evidence.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2021 12:01
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2021 12:01

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