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Britain in The Age of Total War 1939-45

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Introduction

Britain in the Age of Total War 1939-45 Helena Gardner Why were the major cities of Britain bombed by the Germans in 1940 - 1941? When France surrendered to the Nazis on 22nd June 1940, Britain was left vulnerable to a Nazi invasion. When Britain did not surrender as France had, Hitler decided to launch Operation Sealion, which was the invasion of Britain. The Germans initially attacked ships, but successful RAF attacks on German ships demonstrated that the RAF had to be destroyed before Operation Sealion could go ahead. This was the Battle of Britain, which was fought in British airspace between the RAF and the Luftwaffe. Eventually Britain won after nearly two months of hard fighting, due to the distance that the German fighters had to travel, radar technology, and the superior Spitfire and Hurricane aircraft. The Nazis decided to call off Operation Sealion on 7th September 1940, and try a different tactic: heavy bombing of major British cities, such as London, Birmingham, Coventry and Bristol. ...read more.

Middle

Overall, Hitler hoped that bombing major cities, he could destroy the British ability to wage war, through reducing industrial output and by crushing civilian morale, thus forcing the government to surrender. 415 words Describe the effects of the Blitz on everyday life in Britain The Blitz was part of 'total war' - that is, everyone, whether civilian or soldier, man or woman, adult or child was affected. Never before had women and children been affected to such a great extent by war. Each night, hundreds of tonnes of bombs would be dropped by the Luftwaffe on major cities, such as London, Portsmouth and Southampton. This meant that it was necessary for residents to seek shelter from the bombs. The Anderson shelter was dug into the back garden and the Morrison shelter fitted under a dining table and protected people from flying debris. Thousands of Londoners sheltered in the Underground, although 60% stayed in their own homes throughout the war. ...read more.

Conclusion

ARP wardens were employed to make sure that regulations such as the blackout were followed. The government believed that a large number of child deaths would lower morale, and so, between 1st and 4th of September 1939, 1.4m people, mostly children, were evacuated to the countryside. Never before had the classes mixed as they did during evacuation. Some found it impossible to adapt to this new way of living, and because no bombs fell on the cities, parents began to fetch their children home again. However, when the Blitz did begin, these children had to be re-evacuated, but even more refused to be evacuated than before - only 47% of London children were evacuated. This caused thousands of unnecessary mortalities throughout the Blitz. Overall, the Blitz caused more damage to houses than factories, due to a lack of precision bombing. This 'carpet bombing' affected the British public more than precision bombing ever could as families, homes, and basic services were lost, not just workplaces. 546 words ...read more.

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