• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the impact of the Second World War on Britain.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

BRITISH HISTORY Discuss the impact of the Second World War on Britain. From a general angle, the Second World War affected Britain in many ways. It was a success to some extent. Britain was on the winning side. During the 1940-1941 period, she fought alone against the Nazis, managed to avoid surrender and enforced national unity and pride. Britain ended the war on the winning side and had established a 'special relationship' with the USA. Britain had great prestige and took an important role in the formation of the new United Nations. However, Britain was also very damaged by the war. The country's infrastructure was very badly damaged as a result of bombing. The war was very expensive and Britain had to make important loans to maintain the economy. Reconstruction was going to be long, difficult and expensive. Because of this damage, Britain was less able to continue as a world power, this meant colonial independence movements gained momentum. The Second World War intensified the process of de-colonization. It might be true to say that the general economic and military impact of the war left Britain in the same situation as a defeated nation but with the illusions of victory. When Britain got into the war, many immediate measures were taken. These included the mass evacuation of children from cities to escape expected bombings, the digging of air-raid Anderson shelters against conventional bombs and gas attacks. A complete blackout was imposed not to guide German bombers but doubled road accidents, and before the end of 1939, "glimmer" lighting was allowed. ...read more.

Middle

The BBC also used humour in light entertainment programs, they were very popular and helped to calm the situation down. The war also had the effect of social mobility. People found themselves doing new things, the war war brought them out of their lives. Especially the work and armed forces found themselves living away from home and meeting and mixing with people for different classes and different regions. Britain was much less regional after the war. The Americans had a great influence on the British. The British knew about the Americans through light entertainment and Hollywood films. The arrival of American forces in Britain to fight against the Nazis made some British very jealous. The Americans were bigger and better equipped. ("Oversexed, overpaid, over here"). Many British people felt inferior and insecure. The influence of the Americans (Americanization) made a real change in British society. Chewing gum, cigarettes, coca-cola and nylon stockings were all new to the British. The American GIs arriving with great confidence and wealth made the British very jealous, especially for men, because a lot of women married American GIs to get out of the depressed Britain, many British women therefore became "GI brides". The role of women changed because of the war. It caused a huge increase in the employment of women. They worked in factories like ammunition factories, they became WAAFs (Women's Auxiliary Air Force), Land Girls, stenographers and even drivers. Because the many men were away, women had greater responsibilities especially concerning finance. ...read more.

Conclusion

This act made secondary education available to all, free and without restriction, raised the school leaving age to 15 and laid down that secondary schools were to be of three types : grammar, technical and modern. Economically, the war ruined Britain. In March 1941, the US Congress passed the Lend-Lease Act which gave Britain crucial supplies from America, to be pais for later. The USA kept Britain going during the war and by the end of 1945, Britain's overseas debts stood at � 3 000 million. Truman then abruptly ended Lend Lease. This crushed the British economy, and Britain wanted another loan from the USA, which was granted on unfavourable terms. Britain was therefore reduced to a close and uncomfortable dependence on the USA. Britain's world position was changed by the end of the war. British defeats had stirred up nationalistic feelings in her colonies. The country which did the greatest damage to the image of Britain was Japan. In 1941 and 1942, Japan was damaging the British Empire, especially Singapoure. The myth of the Great British Empire was destroyed. This encouraged colonies to take independence (India in 1947, Ceylon in 1948, and Malaisia). Within 20 years most of Britain's empire had become independent. Successful Prime Ministers of the second half of the 20th century agree that Britain no longer an big world power, but they behave as if they believe it, especially concerning military involvement (Iraq and Afghanistan). Britain became a second rate power despite her victory, and the war revealed the USA and the USSR as the two most powerful states in the world. These two major world powers sharing two opposite political opinions marked the start of the Cold War. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Britain 1905-1951 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Britain 1905-1951 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    To what extend do you agree with Rhodes view that the British Empire was ...

    5 star(s)

    It would have seemed that the British Empire misrepresented past events. Cp hill was a historian that wanted to find out the truth about the British Empire. He wrote a book that stated, that profits from the investments in the British Empire to a small amount of British workers, but

  2. In what ways were people's lives affected by evacuation during the second world war?

    "I was separated from my close school friends and was billeted in a house with a girl I didn't get on with", this source is probably reliable as it is an historical account based on a diary of someone in the war written from their own experience.

  1. Evacuation in Britain during the Second World War

    Another point is that the reason for the interview is unknown. The teacher may have been angry about the evacuation process and so the source could possibly be slightly unbalanced or exaggerate, though, even if this was the case, it can still give us what those involved actually thought about evacuation.

  2. Evacuation in Britain during World War II

    Most of the children would have enjoyed their evacuation experience. By looking at source 9 which is a secondary source written later after the war, I can see that the evacuees obviously liked there evacuation areas. This source was written by Jim Woods to be put on the history school website.

  1. History Revision for year 11. The Liberal Reforms, the Beveridge Reforms and the ...

    The most important figure was David Lloyd George. He helped to develop the idea of 'New Liberalism', which was aimed at working people. The idea was a so attractive that Winston Churchill, who had been a Conservative until then, changed sides and became a Liberal.

  2. Sourcework - The impression that the British faced the Blitz with courage and unity ...

    Morrison shelters weren't as common to everyone although as they were very expensive. Evacuation plans were actually made before the war but war was avoided and so evacuation plans were abandoned.

  1. Evaluate the impact of the First World War on the social, economic and political ...

    This was called the suffragettes (WSPU). It was founded by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters. Their methods were more violent compared to the suffragists. They did things such as, made attacks on properties and carried out arson, bombing, and sabotage.

  2. Evacuation in the second world war.

    I personally think that it was another propaganda stunt, three baths of smiling boys. Another factor to consider would be that a lot of parents would not have seen a 'real' bath with hot and cold taps before, so would think how lucky their children are going to be.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work