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Why were British Civilians affected by World War 2?

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Introduction

Why were British Civilians affected by World War 2? World War 2 drastically impacted British Civilians significantly more than previous conflicts. There was no trench warfare, stalemate or battle of attrition but contrary it entailed a war of movement with the development of a lightening war (Blitzkrieg). Strategic aerial bombardment claimed the lives of around 60, 595 British civilians compared to the approximately 1,400 civilians that had died in just over 100 air raids on Britain by German Zeppelins and Gotha bombers in World War 1. Furthermore 827,000 Schoolchildren and their teachers, 524,000 Mothers with children under five and 12,000 pregnant women were evacuated. The main explanations for this drastic affect on civilians were; the changing tactics of Hitler, the development of aircraft and motorised transport, the government, propaganda, the economy and the need for support from women. Civilians were even affected before the outbreak of the war for example when Chamberlain returned from Bad Godesberg in September 1938, 38 million gas masks were issued. Furthermore civil defence services were set up for instance; the ARP Warden Service (formed in March 1937), the Auxiliary Fire Service (formed in January 1938), the Women's Voluntary Services for ARP (formed in June 1938). ...read more.

Middle

The government decided to create a range of strategies and defence plans that were necessary for the war effort and would reassure the British public. For example; rationing was introduced at the beginning of 1940, around 3.5 million people, mainly children experienced evacuation and civil defence units were started. Since the government's realised a direct and escalating attack on British civilians seeming inevitable, they took a leading role in ensuring that civilians would be able to survive the effects of the conflict by introducing precautions such as issuing gas masks, building Anderson shelters and enforcing blackouts. Even before the outbreak of war Air raid precautions had began (1938); 100,000 air raid wardens and 60,000 auxiliary firemen had been recruited. This was owing to the Air Ministry who had forecasted that Britain would be exposed to sudden air attacks that would cause high civilian casualties and mass destruction. This shows that British civilians were affected even prior to World War 2 due to the government taking control and enforcing plans and strategies to defend the public. The vast economic effects of war had severe effects on civilians. War disrupted the economy enormously; this was caused by money and resources being diverted into military equipment and supplies. ...read more.

Conclusion

Civilians were affected by the social change of women working in organisations such as the WLA (Women's land army), WVS (Women's Voluntary service) WRNS (Women's Royal Naval Service). Some civilians were disturbed by the change in women's nature and place in society as women became more valued in society as they were playing a very important role in essential work for a successful war. World War 2 significantly influenced British civilians as it demonstrated women's value to the general public and gave women independence. In conclusion civilians were impacted significantly in World War 2 due to a variety of reasons; the changing tactics of Hitler, the development of aircraft and motorised transport, the government, propaganda, the economy and the need for support from women. As a consequence many civilians felt the fatal affects of the war with around 1 million houses in Britain destroyed or severely damaged and approximately 40,000 civilians killed. The development of aircraft and motorised transport as well as the economy are the most important grounds why civilians were affected in World War 2. Without advanced aircraft, strategic bombardment wouldn't have been possible and Hitler wouldn't have been able to change his tactics and directly attack civilians. The war caused disruption to the economy and consequently the home front was impacted by rationing, propaganda, shortages of food and supplies as well as money. ...read more.

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