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Britain in the Age of Total War

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Introduction

Britain in the Age of Total War Assignment Two: Objectives 2 and 3 1. What can you learn from Source A about the response of the British people to the effects of the blitz? From Source A we can learn a lot about the response of the British people to the effects of the Blitz. The Source is about a book published in 1990 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Blitz called "Waiting for the All Clear"; this tells us that this book was published to celebrate Britain's victory against the blitz as the word "Anniversary" usually refers to a tribute or a toast to commemorate something. This tells us that even though the British citizens were experiencing terror and tragedy they remained determined and battled these predicaments by keeping a high morale and tried to live a normal life, also the statement "They didn't have to be in uniform to be heroes" suggests that the civilians were just like soldiers fighting on the front. Source A may not be purely accurate as it's a secondary source, which described the Blitz as a time of unity and courage however it was also a time of terror and panic due to the imminent danger imposed by the Germans, the author has deliberately written this book on a biased point of view so the author can sell and win the minds and hearts of the readers. 2. Study Sources B, C, How useful are sources B and C in helping you to understand the effects of the Blitz on people in Britain? Sources B and C are quite helpful in understanding the effects of the Blitz on the people in Britain I can say this due to the fact they are both primary sources and they were published near the same period of the blitz. ...read more.

Middle

Bombing was especially severe in East End of London as illustrated in Source E. This concerned the government because Hitler's objective was becoming reality as it was affecting the morale of the British people. Another censorship that was never released was the bombing of Balham underground station in October 1940, where 64 civilians drowned, due to a burst in the water mains, a fact never was released until long after the war had ended. If the news had broken out massive panic would have set in at the stations because it was used by the civilians as air raid shelters. This would affect morale severely and the Government made sure it didn't. Source E shows a report stating that panic was seen everywhere in September 1940. This is from a secret report by the M.O.I. and we know already that the Blitz had only just started in the autumn of that year and so this source is from very early on in the Blitz therefore it could just be the population of London being scared of facing such a daunting prospect. They could have become used to the bombing and so the panic would die down. The words "madly for shelter" and "hysterical" show the panic within the East End at the time. Source F is from Harold Nicolson's diary and as he knew several members of the Government we can assume that he was likely to be well informed. It states, "The King and Queen were booed the other day". This would be very worrying from the Governments point of view as the royal family is figureheads of Britain and to boo them shows that the people are not in support of the nation. ...read more.

Conclusion

London notorious for its unfriendliness even in nation, which elevated privacy into a moral code, was composed of thousands of interlocking group. It was impossible to maintain the traditional British reserve, to cherish the much loved class distinctions of pre-war Britain under the conditions forced intimacy within the ARP rest centres for the homeless. Where in these places all different types of people met from middle class families. From these sorts of conditions we can see why after the war the less well off families. Most of the sources suggest that morale did not break during the blitz, and even suggest that it made ordinary people more determined to support war effort. However, this evidence tends to be from official sources, which may have wanted to reassure the public. Other reports come from the media that were censored by the government. Another category of sources would be eye-witness reports from ordinary civilians. If these were produced a long time after the war, then we must take into account that their memory may not be accurate. On the other hand, reports produced at the time may also have been influenced by propaganda. Some sources do suggest that morale was damaged by the devastation caused by the Blitz. It may be the case that these are isolated opinions, or that they were just the immediate response to a particular attack. In my opinion I believe overall that majority of the British faced the Blitz with courage and unity whether they fought it by keeping alert and helping around or simply just staying at homes and living a normal life as the Blitz never existed but this in all goes down to the Government it self who promoted the British with this courage and unity through their impressive propaganda and censorship schemes. ...read more.

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