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Why were the major cities of Britain bombed by the Germans in 1940-1941?

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Abdullah Mamaniat 10Q Assignment Two: Objective 1 Britain in the Age of Total War, 1939-45 Question One Why were the major cities of Britain bombed by the Germans in 1940-1941? After Hitler failed to defeat the RAF in the Battle of Britain, he turned his attention to British towns and cities. The Blitz, the title given to the German bombing campaign on British cities during World War Two, was Hitler's attempt to destroy Britain's morale and 'soften up' Britain. The attacks started on September 7th 1940. British civilians had not experienced the horror of war until now, and these attacks continued until May 1941. The attacks were night time raids as opposed to daytime to enhance the fear factor and also because losses to the RAF fighters were too heavy during daytime. Another reason why the Germans attacked during the night was to make counter measures difficult. However, Britain did attempt to defend herself with anti-aircraft guns, searchlights, barrage balloons and fighter aircraft, but many of these measures simply relied on luck. The Germans' bomb aiming was inaccurate. They bombed from relatively high levels, perhaps as high as 12,000 to 15,000 feet. This was why the aiming was inaccurate and this led to high German losses. The targets the Germans were claiming to bomb were large cities. In these large cities the Germans claimed to be aiming for factories, railway lines, bridges, ports and shipyards. Any houses hit were known to be unfortunate accidents, but because of the inaccuracy in bombing, houses were hit frequently. Moreover, this pleased the Germans as they believed that by destroying the houses they could create homelessness and tiredness and completely demoralise the people. This was largely what the Germans desperately wanted. The whole theory behind the Blitz was that the population, in constant fear of a sudden and violent death, would put pressure on their government to surrender. If that government did not surrender, then the population would take to the streets, riot and overthrow the government. ...read more.


While this did aid many who travelled on the main roads, if you were driving on one of the very wide roads, and had to cross so that you had to turn right, the problem of then driving down a street with no white line often ended up in disaster because your eyes became used to watching the white line, suddenly it was not there. After a while, it was accepted that total blackout was not necessary. A lighting system for the streets came into being where a small beam of light shone downwards, and a cover made sure that no light could be seen from above, although these were to be extinguished during periods of the blackout. To make matters worse, not only did these people suffer whilst walking along the streets, they experienced the horrors of war more or less twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. People were forced to live their everyday lives among the carnage, the rubble, the dead, the smell, the vermin, and risk of disease. All of this surely must have been terrible, but it seemed that people just got on with it. Moreover the bombing raids were hell. High explosives tore at everything, many were killed instantly, and others were crushed by falling rubble. To many Londoners, it seemed that the whole world was on fire. Bombers came in wave after wave, and London barely had time to catch its breath. Fighters were scrambled to deal with the threat, but there were just too few of them and just too many bombers. The drone of the planes overhead became a familiar sound over the ensuing days. It instilled fear in the people, but it also drew a steadfastness in them to stand their ground and never give in. The bombing also caused disastrous disruption to other aspects of everyday life. Like I've already indicated, the mere destroyed or damaged houses wasn't the only problem; school life was interrupted, families were homeless, and worst of all children were separated from their parents through the evacuation system. ...read more.


The show then changed its name to "It's That Sand Again" set in the town of Foaming-at-the-mouth. Handley played the part of the town's mayor. After 1941, the show reverted back to its old name as the darker days of the war were almost over. ITMA continued throughout the war until 1949. During this time it was difficult to say that the show didn't have a great effect on the nation's morale. Over 40% of the population tuned into it and when Handley died three days after his last show, thousands of "normal" citizens from all over the country came to his funeral. Tommy Trinder was also one of the more famous comedians at this time involved in keeping the nation's morale high. The three most famous singers at this time were Vera Lynn ("We'll meet again" and "There'll be Bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dove), Gracie Fields and Anne Shelton. Vera Lynn became known as the "Forces Sweetheart". In summary, we can see that anything and everything was done by the government to keep morale up. Government films showing "ordinary" citizens coping after the loss of their home after a bombing raid were shown; short films reminding people how to keep quiet unless a spy heard vital information and many other programmes and films were shown or directed through the cinema, radio and in some fortunate cases the television, to keep up the morale. Some photographs and newspaper reports were also censored to keep morale up. Only those approved by the government were released for the public. Pictures of so-called "trekkers" were censored - families fleeing city centres at night to escape German bombing raids. Where possible, the government wanted the British public to think that life had gone on as normal - despite the war. Such a control on information was unprecedented in British history and as I've shown in this essay, entertainment along with propaganda in newspapers and posters/photographs was to play a vital role in this. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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