• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why were the major cities of Britain bombed by the Germans in 1940-41?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why were the major cities of Britain bombed by the Germans in 1940-41? After the fall of France, as a prelude to Hitler's main ambition of destroying Russia, Hitler began to attack Britain. In order to do this, however, he had to destroy the RAF, in what was named 'Operation Sealion.' Hitler decided the most effective way to do this would be to destroy the fleet on the ground, so the Luftwaffe began to bomb ports, airfields and RADAR stations. However, on the 7th of September 1940, Hitler unexpectedly changed his tactics by ordering an end to daylight attacks on RAF airfields to night-time attacks on London. The reason cited for this sudden change is that Hitler wanted to incite fear in the minds of the British Isles. Eventually, the Germans believed, this would cause the people to revolt against the government for fear of their lives. Hitler attempted to achieve these aims through Luftwaffe bombing raids on civilian areas in London. This meant a huge number of casualties, something Hitler thought would break the British. It is hard to keep supporting the government when they brought you into a war where your home - and all your personal possessions were destroyed. ...read more.

Middle

In Coventry four thousand people were killed in the space of ten hours in a precision bombing attack. One-third of the city was damaged in the attack. Many people began what was known as 'trekking' in an attempt to avoid the danger. This entailed travelling to the countryside every night, sleeping rough, and then returning in the morning as normal when the skies were clear - a marked change from daily life before the war. Even those who chose to remain at home faced regular disruptions however, as they were visited by ARP (Air Raid Precaution) wardens, whose job was to inspect blackout, check every house for a 'safe room' (containing a pump and a bucket of sand as well as shelter and proper blackout), and co-ordinate response and rescue on affected households during the raids themselves. At first these wardens were treated as intruders, or 'nosy parkers,' but as the war went on they were accepted as a necessary part of the fight against Hitler. One in six were women, many of whom had to juggle their ARP responsibilities with household life - a time-consuming task indeed. ...read more.

Conclusion

- such as Source E on page 17 in the 'Britain in the Age of Total War 1939-45' book (an extract from a letter detailing aid from the WVS [Women's Voluntary Service]) - could be freely testified, any report containing news of losses, or indeed any negativity or cynicism would have been censored. It was believed that in doing so, mass hysteria on the streets of major towns and cities was being avoided. Other key areas included radio and cinema, both essential in maintaining morale. By 1945 more than ten million people owned a 'wireless' (radio). Reaching a wide audience was critical the government, especially as they had to counter broadcasts made by William Joyce aka 'Lord Haw Haw,' an American-born Nazi sympathiser whose show on Radio Hamburg mocked the British war effort. Before the main feature in cinemas, short Ministry of Information films were shown encouraging and advising people - 'Dig for Victory!' a famous example. In summary, the governments plan to hide the Blitz from the people had two fronts - an ironic reflection of the actual war situation. On one front, newspapers and other media were censored by the Ministry of Information, protecting the people from panic and despair, and on the other front releasing propaganda and counter-propaganda through radio and cinema, to keep morale at an optimum height. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Britain 1905-1951 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Britain 1905-1951 essays

  1. Why were the major cities of Britain bombed by Germans in 1940-41?

    People became generally friendlier and helped each other out. This was called the 'Blitz spirit', a time of high spirits in Britain and what some people say won the war. Although it was discouraged at first, more and more people decided to visit the theatres and cinemas.

  2. Why were major cities of Britain bombed by the Germans in 1940-41?

    Because of spies, the government ran posters campaigns such as the 'Careless Talk Costs Lives' campaign. 2. Propaganda- The government ran poster campaigns to make everyone feel that they are part of war effort-such as 'your Britain. Fight for it now', 'is your journey really important', and 'dig for victory' etc.

  1. Why were the major cities of Britain bombed by the Germans in 1940-41?

    Coventry; - This is one of the largest industrial cities in the country. It produced an extremely large percentage of planes, weapons and machinery and much more besides. If this city was bombed, it would not just be disastrous for those living at home, it would be just as bad for the boys out at the front.

  2. Why were the major cities of Britain bombed by the Germans in 1940-41?

    The attack on Coventry was an attempt to destroy the factories and other means of war production that were in the city, which had a central role in the British war effort. It was the first of a number of major industrial centres of the provinces, which were attacked in

  1. Britain In theAge of Total War, 1939-1945 - why were the major cities of ...

    DESCRIBE THE EFFECTS OF THE BLITZ ON EVERYDAY LIFE. In 1939 Blitz precautions had begun in 1938 when gas masks had been issued to the public this was because the nervous British government fear an invasion and the use of poison gas.

  2. Why were the major cities of Britain bombed by the Germanys in 1940 - ...

    The Blitz had many effects on people's everyday life, but not everyone's life was directly impacted as the Germans only bombed the major cities. The Blitz had very different effects on the different classes. On those that suffered during the blitz the main effects were to their homes, work and their morale.

  1. The Blitz - Why were the major cities of Britain bombed in 1940-1941?

    43,000 people died in the Blitz and 1 in every 6 houses was damaged. People had to do many more jobs and were put under much harder strain during the Blitz. Wardens, workers, policemen and firemen, people who would work (probably in the munitions industry)

  2. The Blitz 1940.

    Over all about 15,205 citizens lost their lives. One of the affects of the Blitz was homelessness for those who live to tell the tale of the horror-filled days and nights of the Blitz, many were confronted with the heartbreak of homelessness.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work