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Impact of the second world war on society 1939-1950

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The Blitz: n. An intensive air raid or series of air raids. The blitz started on the 7th November, 1940. It happened largely by accident. On the night of August 24th, 1940, Luftwaffe bombers aiming or military targets on the outskirts of London flew off course and dropped their bombs on the centre of London destroying several homes and killing civilians. Churchill, believing it to be a deliberate attack, ordered the bombing of Berlin the following night. About 40 British planes made it to Berlin and inflicted minimal property damage, but the Germans were stunned by the attack. It was the first time Bombs had fallen on Berlin, and they had been assured this couldn't happen by the Luftwaffe Chief, Hermann G(ring that this could never happen. Two more British attacks followed, resulting in Germans killed on the ground. German nerves were frayed, the Nazis outraged. Hitler threatened "...When the British Air Force drops two or three or four thousand kilograms of bombs, then we will in one night drop 150-, 230-, 300- or 400,000 kilograms." They were not going to take this lying down, and beginning September 7th London was bombed for 57 consecutive nights, but the blitz continued until May 1941. ...read more.


Sometimes even finding the right city could be a challenge let alone a specific industrial target within that city. These problems led the RAF to switch from precision bombing to area bombing. Elite pathfinder aircraft (usually Lancaster or Mosquito bombers) with special navigation equipment marked the target area with flares and incendiaries for the main force of bombers. The heavy bombers would then drop their bomb loads on the fires started by these markers. Combined with the use of more incendiaries bombs and a shorter time over the target British strategic bombing finally began to really hurt the Germans. Bombing accuracy gradually improved during the war until RAF bombers could bomb targets at night almost as good as U.S. daylight bombing. Despite having this capability though Bomber Command led by Sir Arthur Harris continued to pursue the policy of targeting cities ("area bombing".) Destroying the dwellings of workers, killing, wounding them and their families was supposed to have the strategic effect of reducing war production (decreasing morale, disrupting travel, reducing man-hours of work available, etc.) It was also hoped that if the war became "unpopular" enough among the civilian populace this might lead to a general uprising and possible overthrow of the government with a subsequent surrender. ...read more.


In September 1939 everyone who was not needed for the war effort work were supposed to be evacuated from London and other big cities in case they became bombing targets. The people to be evacuated where mostly children, but pregnant women and disabled people too. However, in January 1940 no bombs had fallen, and as many people did not like their new foster families they started to return to their cities. . When bombing did begin, some returned but many stayed at home. For those that did get evacuated and the new families, the experience could be exciting or boring, enjoyable or sad. Many evacuees did not like their foster families or vise versa, and many evacuees came from poor families and were unclean and uneducated. Rationing: A fixed portion of; especially, an amount of food, clothing, fuel, or the like. Rationing began on the 8th of January, 1940 because of the imports being sunk by German U-boats. Most people liked it because it was fair and everyone got the same. Clothes were also rationed from May 1941. Typical weekly food ration Bacon 6oz Cheese 4oz Butter 4oz Eggs 2 Milk 1pint Tea 3oz Sugar 12oz Sweets 3oz Dried milk 4pints Dried eggs 12 (every 8 weeks) Points were given every 4 weeks for luxury items, 16 points a week.. ...read more.

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