War of the Waves: Radio and Resistance During World War II
60 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2017 Last revised: 7 Nov 2019
Date Written: October 1, 2019
We analyze the role of the media in coordinating and mobilizing insurgency against an authoritarian regime in the context of the Nazi-fascist occupation of Italy during WWII. We study the effect of BBC radio on the intensity of internal resistance. By exploiting variations in monthly sunspot activity that affect the sky-wave propagation of BBC broadcasting towards Italy, we show that BBC radio had a strong impact on political violence. We provide further evidence to document that BBC radio played an important role in coordinating resistance activities but had no lasting role in motivating the population against the Nazi-fascist regime.
Keywords: Media, BBC, Insurgency, Violence, WWII, Sunspots
JEL Classification: D74, L82, N44
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation