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

    Without food arriving across the sea the government put rationing in place leading to a less complex diet. The bombings Germans made to the major cities of Britain, made the British people live in fear, as this meant they could get killed anytime.

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

    Creating positive propaganda to promote patriotism did this. One such example was when the King and Queen visited different areas of London which were affected by the raids, one such place was the London Underground which at the time was full of people who had stayed there overnight while the raids took place.

  2. Sourcework - The impression that the British faced the Blitz with courage and unity ...

    mentions that many communities moved to Epping Forrest during the bombing of the East End. The source also tries to portray the image that morale was high by saying that people still turned up for work therefore giving the impression that people continued to work to show spirit and patriotism at working to beat Hitler.

  1. Why Were the Major Cities of Britain Bombed by the Germans in 1940-1941?

    Not every evacuated mother fitted in so well, though. Country life was very different to the busy lives they were used to, and many women went back home, "bombs or no bombs (page 19)." For many women during the war, life became a dull routine of food rationing, clothes rationing, making do, queuing and worrying.

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

    Within the cities the ARP (Air Raid Precautions) wardens, police and other services organised the emergency services after a raids. The AFS (Auxiliary Fire Service) played a vital role both during and after a raid in coping with the many fires caused by incendiary bombs.

  1. Britain in the Age of Total War, 1939-45

    Even though the Blitzing of British cities ended in June 1941 there were still bombs being dropped for at least three years after that date. This helps us imagine the extent of the damage to British cities, as the

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

    Government limited food by rationing it. People were given ration books at the time of war. Evacuation- People were frightened and started leaving cities during wartime.' Night after night exodus went on', which means people, left their country for better and safer place. There was a massive amount of people who were leaving their country at time of evacuation.

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