May 7 and 8 mark the anniversary of VE Day — the end of the Second World War in Europe in 1945 — and on Radio Riel on Thursday and Friday May 8/9 we will be remembering the music of the 1930s and 1940s, with a special emphasis on the war years, 1939–45.
We’ll be playing the music of the big bands, the singers and the songs that helped people carry on through the dark years. You’ll hear Vera Lynn, Noël Coward, some early Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller and a great many more. In addition we will be playing some actuality from the period. And, of course, you’ll hear Irving Berlin’s It’s a Lovely Day Tomorrow, from his political satire The Louisiana Purchase (1941).
The Britain that emerged from the War in 1945 was nearly bankrupt, many of its cities strewn with rubble and bombed-out buildings. But its people shared a great vision of pulling together in peacetime as they had learned to do in war, and against enormous difficulty (from the temporary withdrawal of US funding to the worst winter in living memory) the new landslide-elected Government sought not only to put the country back on its feet but to eliminate many of the ills from which Britain had suffered before the war. It largely succeeded.
In 1941, the wartime coalition government had established a committee headed by Sir William (later Lord) Beveridge to determine how Britain should be rebuilt after the war. The Report of his Committee the following year was to form the basis of the country’s Welfare State, with the avowed intention of defeating the “five giants” on the road to reconstruction: Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness. This included setting up a world-leading National Health Service in 1948 with free medical treatment for all, and an advanced national benefits system providing ‘social security’ to protect the population ‘from the cradle to the grave’, based on the national insurance scheme established by Lloyd George in 1911.
The resulting collaborative social consensus and its enabling institutions established after the war stood virtually unchanged under successive governments, both Conservative and Labour, until the advent of Mrs Thatcher in the late 1970s.
From the Library is produced by Radio Riel in conjunction with the Caledon Library in Second Life, to inform, educate and entertain. Today’s programme is presented by Elrik Merlin.
You can listen to the programme now at http://music.radioriel.org — the ideal URL to plug into your home parcel media address in-world — or simply visit any Caledon Library branch in-world and press Play on your embedded music player. (If you want to listen off-world, eg in Winamp or iTunes, and the above address doesn’t work for you, click here.)