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The Belfast Blitz.

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GCSE Coursework The Belfast Blitz By Nicola Crooks As a result of Poland's invasion in 1939 by Germany, the Second World War began. One year later, the Battle of Britain commenced, with major cities such as Liverpool and Bristol targets for bombing. It was in the summer of 1941 when Belfast, one of the largest yet undefended cities in the United Kingdom, was devastated by their onslaught between the months of April and May. Receiving four bombardments in total, Belfast suffered death and destruction in larger quantities than any other city attacked by the Luftwaffe. When compared to examples such as Portsmouth, which had a death total of 930 as a result of 67 attacks, it is evident that Belfast, with 955 deaths, experienced many problems during and before their attacks, which led the densely populated city to undergo this catastrophe. So why was it that such a small number of raids caused so much carnage and were able to destroy such a large city? Many did, and still do, blame the Government, led by James Craig from 1940. Through their decisions based on the Warnock report, the Government's laid back attitude and inefficiency are valid reasons to blame them for the devastation, though there are many more besides, which I plan to discuss during the course of this essay. ...read more.


Finding they could not cope alone, reinforcements were sent for from Eire and Britain, which proved a success as fires were soon under control. The structure of the city itself was also a reason for such a high death rate. Houses in the 1940's were small, so as to fit as many into one street as possible. As a result, large amounts of people in one area were killed by single bombs. Homes were also near the workplace, factories such as the Harland and Wolff shipyard, to allow easy access. However, large factories and places of production were the specific targets of the German's, which meant that many houses were situated in, or close to, the targeted areas. The precision of the Luftwaffe pilots also contributed to the effects of the Blitz, and its effects. It was difficult for the German's to aim directly at their target, and there was no guarantee that the bomb would land where expected, which was usually on factories. The darkness would decrease the visual advantages the pilots had, so bombs were often dropped on housing areas. As well as this, the strength of the wind was a major factor in where the parachute bombs fell. They were easily guided off course and landed on neutral areas. The men could also have felt nervous or afraid, which would have effected their judgement and performance. ...read more.


Hoses needed to put out fires were not long enough. It was almost impossible to clear roads after explosions due to lack of equipment. Minor, escapable problems such as these could have been avoided through simple planning and discussion by the Government. The public was also ill-prepared when it came to protecting themselves and their family during the bombings. Precautions were not taken to ensure that people knew how to deal with the events which were to happen to them. There was also a lack of air-raid drills, which could have proven to be useful, if not vital, when it came to the actual bombarding. To conclude, it is apparent that there were many reasons, some small and seemingly trivial, others crucial, as to why the city of Belfast suffered so highly during its attacks by the Luftwaffe than any other targeted city in the United Kingdom. As I have explained throughout this essay, simple precautions such as adequate amount of air raid shelters and hoses could have made a large and positive impact on the final death total after the bombardments. The general attitude of the Northern Ireland Government, as well as the general public, added to the unexpected results and inability to deal with such attacks. However, it can be seen that the foremost reason for Belfast's suffering lies with its Government. Its reliability on an inaccurate and misleading report resulted in one of the United Kingdom's worst tragedies. Nicola Crooks 1 ...read more.

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