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"The British government protected its civilians very effectively from the effects of air-raids" - To what extent do you agree with this statement?

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Introduction

"The British government protected its civilians very effectively from the effects of air-raids." To what extent do you agree with this statement? I agree with this statement in some ways, but not in others. To begin with, Operation Sealion failed meaning that Britain was protected because it did not go ahead. This may, or may not, have been because Germany was afraid of British defence, but either way Britain was safe. Moreover, the Battle of Britain hit Germany hard as they did not expect Britain to break-up German planes with a new formation. This was the chief cause that made Hitler switch to night-time attacks, hence the blitz. Finally, The main targets that the Luftwaffe wanted to bomb was ports, factories and cities. This disrupted production and trade, and lowered morale. The morale of the British nation was also lowered by the expectations they had about the Luftwaffe. During the Spanish Civil War the city of Guernica was virtually destroyed by the Luftwaffe. This made the public of Britain uneasy because they thought this would happen to cities here. Also, approximately one million deaths were expected within the British population. ...read more.

Middle

Though this in itself was an original and well-though-out design, it did have its drawbacks. Firstly, as it was below ground level, when it rained the shelter would fill with water making it uncomfortable to spend time in. Secondly, for a family to possess one they would need the facility of a garden. This would be a problem for working class citizens as many of them only had small back yards. For people that fell into this group, a new type of shelter was introduced called a Morrison shelter. This was basically dense chicken wire wrapped around the kitchen table. If a bomb were to be dropped and people did climb under their kitchen tables, the weight of the debris would trap them under it, or possibly even kill them. Along with protecting the country, the British government also tried to prevent German planes from actually bombing. There are four main things that were done. Firstly, AA (Anti-Aircraft) Guns and searchlights were set up. These were very effective when it came to shooting down low flying aircraft, during the day and night. The negative aspect of this method though is that it was hard to aim at high-flying planes, even during the day. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, Source D is an eye witness report about Coventry after a heavy raid in 1940. The source shows the full extent of people's consternation and provides a good insight into what conditions would be like if you lived in a city which had just been bombed. For people's to give accounts such as this to the newspapers, or even by word of mouth, Britain's morale will definitely have decreased. Overall, I think that the British government protected its civilians effectively from the effects of air-raids mentally, but not necessarily physically. I think this because many things such as Source A will have put people's mind at ease, and they would have thought buying dense chicken wire to go around their kitchen table would have protected them. I do not think the country's civilians realised how much danger they were actually in until the first bomb was dropped, creating scenes such as the one in Source E. This is why I think that the British government should have been more open about what they knew would happen, but it is understandable why they censored such truths. Andrew Bradbury ...read more.

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