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Britain in the Age of Total War, 1939-45 - source related study.

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Britain in the Age of Total War, 1939 - 45 History Coursework Introduction During the Second World War civilians were involved as well as soldiers. As part of the conflict Britain and Germany bombed each other's major cities. People in both countries had to cope with the effects of these air raids. In Britain the bombing of the cities was known as the Blitz. Some people write about the Blitz as a time when the British people showed great cheerfulness and courage. They say their morale was good. Other writers believe that much of what was said and written about the high morale of the British is myth rather than true. 1) What can you learn from Source A about the response of the British people to the effects of the Blitz? Source A indicates that through the 'terror and tragedy' of the Blitz the British civilians found courage and hope to help them battle through and cope with the atrocious circumstances they found themselves in. Their response to the German bombing was to continue as normally as possible and keep their wits about them in such conditions. 'Those at home in the most appalling circumstances kept their sense of humour.' This quote states that despite the horrific devastation around them the British civilians still found something to smile about at the end of the day. ...read more.


Source D also supports Source B and C in terms of the way that the British dealt with the effects of the Blitz. It shows civilians working together in a united fashion to sort out the property. Source C shows a similar image with the tenants of the destroyed buildings smiling and embracing one another for a photograph. D and C in particular help to suggest that there was a Blitz spirit. 4) Use Source E, F and G, and your own knowledge to explain why the government was concerned about the morale of the British people in the autumn of 1940? The government were anxious about the attitudes and spirits of the British people in the autumn of 1940 for several reasons. One reason for their concern was the realisation that the British people were terrified of the nightly air raids and became hysterical as soon as sirens sounded. According to Source E the Citizens Advice Bureau was inundated with mothers and their children who wished to be removed from the London district and taxi drivers were constantly making trips to London stations Euston and Paddington with families and their belongings. This implies that inhabitants of London were not happy to be living under threat and did not wish to remain there where they were constantly in danger. Despite attendance at the workplace remaining good, entire communities fled to the countryside in fear. ...read more.


Radio broadcasts would say that around sixty German aircrafts were destroyed upon average each night, and would say Britain's planes were left virtually untouched. However, this was falsely claimed because nobody was certain of the numbers of either German or British planes that were destroyed. It was simply said to make the people feel like the British would come out on top. It was a concern of the government that everyone should feel that they were contributing to winning the war, and so posters were made to encourage civilians to help wherever possible. The government also asked the public to donate their old pot and pans to make new planes. The truth was that there was an abundance of materials to construct planes with, but the plea was fabricated to allow the civilians to feel they had contributed in their own way. This made the British feel they were working as a team to become victorious and increase their spirits. It is clear why some would say that the Blitz Spirit was but a myth because there is so much evidence that suggests morale was low in Britain. However, it is my opinion that the British faced the Blitz with courage and unity because of the clever and cunning way in which they were made to believe though propaganda that eventually, despite all the obstacles, the British would win the war and be victorious and their pain would be worthwhile, and in many ways the morale and strength of Britain's civilians did win the war. Rebecca Jordan History Coursework Assignment ...read more.

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