Through the history of the short-lived 1947 radio show La Tribune de l'Invalide, this article examines how the social and political context of the Liberation offered disability activists a unique opportunity to demand pensions, medical care, and social services hitherto denied to them by the French state. Drawing on transcripts of the broadcasts and correspondence between listeners and the show's host Maurice Didier, the article demonstrates how disability activists played a pivotal, if little acknowledged, role in the construction of the postwar welfare state by highlighting French society's historic neglect of disabled civilians.
Rebecca Scales is an Associate Professor of History at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the author of Radio and the Politics of Sound in Interwar France (2016). Her scholarship has appeared French Historical Studies, Comparative Studies in Society and History, and Media History. She is currently working on a new NEH-funded book project exploring the social and cultural history of polio in twentieth-century France.