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Many measures were taken in Bexley to protect people from the effects of air attack. Firstly, Britain introduced the post of ARP (air raid precautions) wardens to all places where people lived

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Erith Coursework Assignment A piece of History Coursework by Arash Behrooz, Y11 Candidate number: 0602 Centre number: 17132 The Kings School, Harpenden 19h March 2006 1) Many measures were taken in Bexley to protect people from the effects of air attack. Firstly, Britain introduced the post of ARP (air raid precautions) wardens to all places where people lived. The wardens would have to know exactly where different people in their neighbourhood lived so that in the event of air attack the emergency services could be directed quickly. The wardens were volunteers (they weren't paid for their time) and most of them held regular day jobs, but after dark would take on the responsibilities of an ARP warden. These included distributing air raid shelters to the people in their neighbourhood, going to check if people were complying with black out rules and acting as first aiders or amateur fire personnel until the proper emergency services arrived. Even before the war had begun in 1939, many people knew that it was inevitable. The government began to prepare for war and thought that as in World War I the Germans would try dropping poison gas bombs. To combat this, the government ordered that every person living in the UK would have to have a gas mask and to carry it with them at all times when they were out and about. Special ones were made for babies where their entire body was put into a tank like object and air would be pumped in by their parents. Schools and workplaces were ordered t have regular drills and practices of putting masks on, so that students and workers would be able to get the masks on as quick as possible in a real emergency. Air raid shelters were also made by the government. The most popular one was the Anderson Shelter which was a big sheet of corrugated, galvanized steel, which was dug into the back garden and soil piled on top of it. ...read more.


With 5000 saucepans, a fighter jet could be built. The war also changed the roles of leisure in peoples' lives. The cinema was around in those days and was a very popular recreation fro many people. During the war, (and especially after America joined in, since they made the best films,), these films were made to be morale boosters to take peoples' minds of the war. Many simply made of fun of the war, such as the Great Dictator, (1940), starring Charlie Chaplin, which made fun of Hitler. Radio also had an important part in the War. During breaks, advertisements would usually be about helping with the war effort, digging for Victory, making do and mending, and encouraging men to join the army. The new greatly praised the work of the British forces and often made witty comments when the Germans lost a battle. Overly depressing stories, such as huge civilian deaths were omitted to keep spirits up. Singers and music also impacted people during the War. Many songs provided encouragement and support for people going through the war at home. Vera Lynn's "We'll meet again", kept millions happy during the War, providing morale support to mothers and wives, who sons and husbands were off fighting. Some songs were made to be humorous, and made fun of the Nazis and Hitler, to keep peoples' spirits up. War also changed the roles and contents of things such as fairs. During the war, many fairs produced patriotic fund raisers to keep peoples' spirits up, example 2d to hammer a nail into "Hitler's coffin". The proceeds would usually go to the war effort. 3) People reacted in many different ways to wartime conditions. People saw that food was scarce, and rationing was rather meager, so many people, encouraged by the Governments Dig for Victory campaign, began growing vegetables in the gardens or allotments. Their own produce wouldn't be rationed out, so people could eat as much vegetables as they wanted, or share any excess out between their neighbours. ...read more.


new babies were being born, leading to a larger population, which even these days the population is larger than that of pre-war Bexley. Another permanent change was the absence of rationing. During the war, most things were rationed and shared fairly, but afterwards, most things were again available to buy. Some things however stayed on ration, such as bread, because of a general wheat shortage around the world. This ended in the 1950s along with sweet and sugar ration. Because the war had ended, people also reverted back to their old ways. There was less co-operation and war time spirit as before. People didn't share out their things and do as much self-sacrifice, because now everything was seen to be better. The radios and cinemas stopped broadcasting patriotic and morale boosting films and songs. Some of the various associations were disbanded after the war. Things such as the Home Guard and WLA were given up as there was no more need for a reserve army, or for lots of home grown vegetables. The people who volunteered for them slowly went back to what they were doing before the war. However, the WVS still survives to this day, and still provides refreshments to emergency workers, for examples, they were there during the Bunsfield oil depot disaster. The role oil women as seen by society also permanently changed as a result of the war. Before the war, women were supposed to keep house and raise children, so hardly any went out to work. However, during the war, as so many did work; they carried on working in various jobs after the war. Work wasn't seen as such an unladylike thing any more. A lot of factory workers found themselves unemployed after the war. Overall in Britain, over one million people who, during the war had been making munitions in factories were now out of work. In Bexley, the Vickers gun factory received much less orders, so many of its employees were sacked, and found work elsewhere. ...read more.

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