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Describe the effects of the Blitz on everyday life in Britain. (Rough Draft)

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Alex Keast Sunday, 02 February 2003 History Coursework: The Blitz Q2. Describe the effects of the Blitz on everyday life in Britain. (Rough Draft) When Adolf Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe to concentrate its bombing efforts on the major cities of Britain in the summer of 1940, in an effort to destroy British moral, the people of Britain were subjected to an almost nightly ordeal of high explosives and incendiary bombs. There are many heroic stories about the Blitz- of exceptional bravery, a product of the so called 'Blitz Spirit'- but what was it like for the ordinary citizens of Britain and their endurance of the daily ordeal of saturation bombing? During the summer of 1940, the Luftwaffe had failed in its objectives to destroy the capabilities of the RAF. This, combined with a stray German bomber attacking London and the resulting British retaliation on Berlin, incensed Hitler so much that he decided to switch all efforts into destroying the moral of the population of Britain by deliberate terror bombing. ...read more.


It also seemed that British politicians, in their hasty declaration of impending Armageddon, appeared to forget that Britain had two powerful air defence weapons in the shape of the Spitfire and Hurricane- two aircraft that inflicted enormous losses on German aircraft. It is interesting to note the scepticism the British Establishment had in their estimation of the British peoples' ability to withstand sustained aerial attack. Pre-war policies concentrated on 'suppressing panic and riot' rather than the more important issue of confronting the enemy bombers. Instead, the British Public endured the bombing with an admirable determination. Descending down into the Underground or their Anderson Shelters, the British population emerged to the possibility off their houses being a heap of rubble or an unexploded bomb in their front garden. Sometimes whole rows of houses disappeared, replaced by a string of craters. With the bombing came 'inconveniences'. The aforementioned loss of homes, craters in the middle of the road, windows blown out, electricity, water and gas cuts and huge fires and most importantly the loss of a loved-one. ...read more.


177,000 Londoners could take refuge in the multitude of stations- though not all of them were as safe as assumed: 680 casualties were caused when a high explosive bomb fell on Balham station. Despite all this disruption the population of London (and the other major cities) attempted to carry on as usual. There are many stories of new friendships being formed, and a new feeling of community cemented by universal suffering. Everyday life was different for criminals too. With the blackout robbers couldn't be sure of which houses were occupied. Pickpockets had no trouble running off into the dark streets and bus drivers started receiving a record number of dud coins. Bands of looters tried to get to recently bombed out houses before the emergency services- a rather different Blitz Spirit. There were 48000 casualties during the Blitz in London alone yet British morale never came close to collapsing- proving Bertrand Russell and his apocalyptic scenario of 'one vast raving bedlam... traffic will cease, the homeless will shriek for peace...' absolutely wrong. The British public endured the everyday effects of the Blitz with defiant indifference of its consequences. ...read more.

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