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What can you learn from source A about the response of the British people to the effects of the Blitz?

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Introduction

Britain in the Age of Total War Question One Study Source A. What can you learn from source A about the response of the British people to the effects of the Blitz? The Blitz was a period within 'World War Two' starting upon the 7th of September 1940 and lasting until Mid-May 1941. The aim of the Blitz was to destroy the British morale by intensively bombing the major cities in England. Hitler had turned his attention to the British populous after his attempt to cripple the RAF failed. As a result, World War Two became known as a 'Total War' because it affected both the soldiers fighting in the front line, and the civilians at home. Source A, is an extract from 'Waiting For The All Clear,' a book published in 1990 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Blitz. Source A can teach us much about the response of the British people during the Blitz. We are informed that the British people had "an unshakable determination." Along with this, they 'kept their sense of humour.' The source goes on to tell us that people 'didn't have to be in uniforms to be heroes,' here the source is referring to the fact that normal people were thought of as being as courageous as those in the battlefield. ARP(air raid protection) wardens, firemen, police and many other institutes that helped the public. Also people who were everyday going people were also seen as heroes as they too helped England to pull through the 'Lightening War.' We can learn that there was a great deal of apparent unity from the British public in Response to the Blitz. The attitude of that 'the Blitz brought out the best' in people is evident in this source. We are told that 'Out of terror and tragedy came courage'. This suggests that during the Blitz, the British people had very high morale it was as though the Blitz brought out the best in people. ...read more.

Middle

It could be argued that this source is indeed a source of propaganda. This is because it was published to encourage British morale. Consequently it could be argued that this source is not very useful because it is biased. We can also infer from the dates of the sources the effects that the Blitz had upon the British. As source C was taken at the start of the Blitz the true effects of the Blitz had not yet been felt. Whereas Source B was taken just after the peak of the Blitz consequently showing the effects of the Blitz. However I feel that Source C was published when it was, because the Government wanted to control their 'Public' and at the start of the Blitz felt they had to keep morale at a high level. However Source B was taken whilst the Blitz had almost finished running its course as a result the British Government did not have the intensity of the burden to keep morale high of that they had at the start of the Blitz. Therefore I believe that both sources are useful to an extent. They show both good and bad points of the Blitz. But the fact that both sources are photographs they can be seen to be unreliable as photographs are "Snapshots in time." Question Three Study Sources B, C and D. Does source D support the evidence of sources B and C about the damage done during the air raids? Source D is a photograph taken on the 15th of November 1940 after the air raid on Coventry but was not published until February 1941. Hitler recalled planes from fronts all over Europe to deliver a crushing blow to the centre of the British car and aircraft production industry Coventry. Heavier than anything even London had experienced, such concentration on a provincial city with a tightly packed shopping centre was utterly devastating. ...read more.

Conclusion

This caused long queues, which was another one of the problems that the home front had to face. Many would even sleep outside the shop doors in order to get their rations. The black market flourished in some areas selling off goods that were rationed or were hard to get hold of. London was bombed on 75 out of 76 nights. People built Anderson shelters in their garden or took refuge down the tube stations. Although Anderson shelters could not survive a direct hit they could protect families from nearby blasts. People were not completely safe in the underground because if a bomb went down a ventilation shaft then most people below would die. Coventry suffered the second worst attacks especially on November 4th 1940 when a massive air raid caused 30% of its buildings to be destroyed including the Cathedral. The British morale seemed to be high in the Autumn of 1940. However there are suggestions that not all morale was high during the Blitz. For example in source E, we are told how people would "run madly" around when the "siren" would go off. This suggests that many people were scared about what was happening almost "hysterical," thus the government would be concerned for British morale. However this source is not very reliable as it was published by the "Ministry of Information" basically the governments personal propaganda agency. In source F, we are told that "even the King and Queen were booed" when they visited bombsites. This would have been very concerning for the government as the King and Queen were seen as major role models back in World War Two. If they were being booed the British morale had too have been low. This source is reliable as it is a diary entry from "Harold Nicholson," this being the case nobody was supposed to read it, adding to its reliability. Along with this Nicholson knew several members of the government showing that he knew the current affairs of the country. Muazzam Chaudhri 11O History Page 1 of 8 ...read more.

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