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Why were the major cities of Britain bombed by the Germans in 1940 - 1941?

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Introduction

Why were the major cities of Britain bombed by the Germans in 1940 - 1941? Immediately after the defeat of France in the June of 1940, Adolf Hitler gave his generals the orders to organise the invasion of Britain. This plan was code-named Operation Sealion and its objective was to land 160,000 German fighters along a forty mile stretch of south-east England's coast. It was only a few weeks before a large fleet of vessels was ready for attack. Among them 2000 barges lay waiting for the go ahead in German, Belgian and French harbours. As Hitler's generals were concerned about the damage the R.A.F could inflict upon their armada the invasion was postponed until the British air force had been annihilated. On 12th August the mass bomber attacks on radar stations, aircraft factories and fighter airfields began; This attack was followed by daily raids on Britain, this became the beginning of the Battle of Britain. Although these plans were drawn up Hitler was never very keen on them, his lack of enthusiasm caused their abandonment on October the 12th 1940. Instead of invasion Hitler switched his efforts to pounding Britain into submission with gruesome sustained nightly bombing campaign. ...read more.

Middle

They consisted of corrugated iron covered with earth deep in the ground. They were usually cold and damp but they did provide a little private shelter for those who had them. They were also quite effective as the picture shows. This particular shelter remained intact after taking the full force of a bomb in London, 20th March 1941. The Morrison shelter was also fairly popular. This was an iron cage that doubled as a table but was designed to protect the family as their house collapsed around them. The theory was they would crawl out of the rubble unhurt. However if they were trapped and the house was on fire they would die, powerless to save themselves. Larger civic shelters were constructed of brick and concrete in British towns but the simple construction plans of the government often led to sand and lime being used instead of concrete. This led to the occupants seeking refuge dying as a result of their faulty shelter. The defence of the cities is believed to have been the anti-aircraft guns (which stopped firing when the British Fighter Command launched their aircraft) ...read more.

Conclusion

Reports often used to concentrate on a particular family's story, so as to bring hope to other readers. They often twisted the truth to keep morale high. In cases of individual disasters, newspapers were often made to report or show photographs of the incident only a few days later, and some times had to wait even longer. This occurred with the bombing of Balham tube station, where several hundred people drowned because of a severed water pipe. Censorship of photographs was very common during the blitz. Photographs were not always censored because they showed death and disasters of the worst kind, but also because they portrayed the misery and angst of civilians, and depicted the widening gap between the ways of life of the working classes in comparison. However all the censorship could not hide the damage nor repair it and it could not erase the images of burning and dismembered corpses in the minds of the people. Although the people stoically stood shoulder-to-shoulder against the onslaught, what they suffered was nothing compared to what the Germans were going to suffer. As Sir Arthur (bomber) Harris said when he had the new generation of long-range heavy bombers at his disposal "They have sown the wind, now they will reap the whirlwind". ...read more.

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