Nation building and war narratives for children: War and militarism in Hebrew 1940s and 1950s children's literature

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Abstract

This paper examines militarisation in child culture in Israel's transition from a pre-state society engaged in the nation-building process to statehood. The paper studies children's culture and the literary corpus for children created in the 1940s and 1950s in Jewish Palestine, before and after Israel's establishment. It investigates the main stages in the rapid development of the militaristic narrative for children - from the beginning of World War II in 1939, through the War of Independence in 1948, and during the first decade of statehood. By examining the nature of the national-military children's story, I demonstrate the extent to which militarisation in Israeli children's culture was dictated from above. I also argue that society's rapid change following the founding of the Israeli state in 1948 brought about a dramatic shift in the attitude of state institutions, and especially the education system, towards the militaristic narrative addressed towards children that was vigorously promoted prior to 1948.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-613
Number of pages13
JournalPaedagogica Historica
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2012

Keywords

  • Intergenerational discourse
  • Israeli children's culture
  • Israeli children's literature
  • Militarisation
  • Nation building

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