(Grade A) Blitz coursework.doc

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GSCE Coursework- Britain in the age of total war

By Chin Ching and Jensen Pon

1. Study Source A

What can you learn from source A about the response of the British people to the effects of the Blitz? (6)

Source A is an extract from a book celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Blitz. It celebrates Britain’s victory in the Blitz and the courage and determination that many British civilians showed amid the crisis, which is seen in, “heroes…courage and unshakable determination…” However, since this book was produced long after the war, the memory of the Blitz may not have been so accurate. The tone of the author is upbeat and positive, which conveys a feeling of pride and patriotism to the reader.  Also, the purpose of this Book was written to celebrate the British’s success in overcoming the Blitz and in uniting the country as one, so it would be unlikely to provide negative aspects of the Blitz. So consequently this source is not completely reliable as it only provides limited understanding of how people reacted to the effects of the Blitz.

2.Study Source B, C

How useful are source B and C in helping you to understand the effects of the Blitz on people in Britain? (10)

Source B shows British morale on the verge of collapse due to relentless enemy bombing. This source is useful since it is taken at the time of the Blitz and provides a much more realistic view of the Blitz compare with the one shown in source C. The government censored this photo because they knew that pictures of dead civilian would further demoralize the people and encourage them to abandon and leave the city. As a result, there would be an economic standstill and the withdrawal of troops since people who left the city no longer supported the war-effort. If the people weren’t on the government’s side, the enemy would have easily defeated the country and the government couldn’t afford to have this happen. To prevent this, the government bombarded the public with propaganda to encourage the people to support the war effort.


Source C shows the British facing the Blitz with a positive attitude and spirit. The photo shows people posing for a photo after a bomb raid, which left much of their houses destroyed. Despite these circumstances, they are smiling with confidence and are supposedly showing true British “grit”. It suggests that the people’s morale was very high and remained relatively unaffected by the psychological and physical damage caused by the Blitz. However, this source is obviously a form of government propaganda as this photo is staged to boost civilian morale, and in these situations people would not be in this state of mood.

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So in conclusion, both sources are not completely useful in showing the effects of the Blitz on people in Britain because each has its limitation. Source B only shows a small area that could have been a major hit, but it might not have been hit like that throughout the entire country. Source C was a staged photograph and it doesn’t reflect the on the general situation of the people at the time of the Blitz. But it can be used to show what the government really wanted the people’s attitude to be like in the Blitz.  


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