Question – 1 Why were major cities of Britain bombed by the Germans in 1940-41?
Germany and Britain fought a battle from August to September called Battle of Britain. This fight was for control over skies. There were four major battles in battle of Britain in which Britain won. After being defeated by Britain, Germans knew that they would not be able to invade Britain, so they began to attack it in different ways and adopted new tactics. They knew that if they carry their troops and tanks on ships R.A.F (Royal Air Force) of Britain would destroy them and sink their ships. So, they decided to destroy R.A.F first. They not only planned to destroy R.A.F but also Britain’s economy and its war effort by destroying its factories. Factories were the main economy of Britain so for destroying its economy, they bombed them.
They also knew that Britain would do its level best to keep them away from their colonies so as to maintain their empire. So Germany tried to frighten Britain and desperately changed their tactics to create fear and panic among people.
They attacked the docks in London so as to stop supplies of food being brought into Britain. They started bombing its main towns and cities. The most affected towns by German bombing were Coventry, Glasgow, and East end. In all, Germans killed over 60,000 people due to air raids and they destroyed over 250,000 houses, so that people loose their morale and hope and government surrender itself in front of German dictatorship.
Question-2 Describe the effects of the blitz on everyday life in Britain?
Germany started invading Britain in September 1940. German bombers flew over Britain at nighttime and threw high explosives on it. Instead of doing precision bombing in which only main centers are targeted they commenced carpet bombing killing thousands of innocent’s people. During war, whole of Britain was facing a massive loss and destruction due to heavy bombing by Germany. Britain had to face lots of hardships during wartime. There was a fear of attack even on schools. Whole of country suffered a feeling of insecurity, fear and panic. They had no hope whether they would be left alive or not. Government passed their propaganda and initiatives and tried to persuade women, so that they can send their children to a safer place, so that they are not affected by war. Government tried its level best in the war and tried to embrace people who were affected by the war. Lots of civilians became target of German bombing. In 1940, nearly 38,000 bombs were dropped on Britain killing so many people. There were blackouts, evacuation, shortage of domestic bombs shelters and rationing in the country:
Blackouts- Their were blackouts in the country at night time, so the German bombers can’t point out British cities and towns and turn them into pieces and ash. No one was allowed to switch his or her lights on, in night time.
Rationing- In it food gets limited and comes in a limited amount. 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.
These sort of emergencies resulted decrease in morale of the people. Britain’s king and queen visited to the bomb affected sites and boosted people so that people would not loose their morale. But when Britain started winning the war morale of the people started increasing automatically and feeling of fear and panic started decreasing. Government was given a big task to handle frightened citizens but they were unable to meet their demands. Even the rescue parties were inadequate because of overwork that they faced. There was shortage of food and even the evacuation was not well planned. Government tried its level best for the task, which they were facing but still it was not enough. So, we can say that, not even people faced a lot of hardship during war but even the government who had to deal with them.
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Question–3 In what ways did the British government attempt to hide the effects of the blitz from the people of Britain?
The main objective of British government behind hiding the effects of the blitz from the people was that people don’t loose their morale. They created an illusion in front of its people so that they might not fear and panic. As if government discloses the number of bombs dropped on Britain, people would get scared. So, people don’t loose their morale government hided the number of loses they faced in war.
During war, lots of innocents were killed due to heavy bombing by Germany. Britain’s main factories and industries were targeted causing damage and heavy loss to its government. German bombers didn’t even spare schools so that government give up and surrender. These factors were affecting people’s morale and its war effort. So as to prevent its citizen’s war effort, hope and morale government applied censorships and used propagandas.
- Censorship- The censorship bureau banned all newspapers photographs of wounded soldiers, dead air raid victims and houses destroyed by the Germans bombing. Because of spies, the government ran posters campaigns such as the ‘Careless Talk Costs Lives’ campaign.
- 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.
Ministry of information also issued propaganda to help people maintain their morale. Particularly important was how it turned the defeat of Dunkirk into a ‘victory’-soon everyone was talking about ‘Dunkirk spirit’. During the Battle of Britain, German air craft loses was exaggerated. For example-
So we can see a lot of exaggeration done by government but this exaggeration helped a lot of extent to the government to have a control over its citizens.
Thus to a greater extent government was successful in hiding the effects of blitz from its citizens.
1. Study Source A
What can people learn from Source A about the response of the British people to the effects of the Blitz?
Source A is a positive source describing the conditions and status of mind of British people during war. People can learn that the British responded to terror and tragedy with courage and determination and that even people in the most appalling circumstances still managed to keep their sense of humour. British people bravely took part in war. People can learn that it wasn't only soldiers that were involved in the war and that ordinary civilians were often heroes too, this is described by the phrase 'they didn't have to be in uniform to be heroes’. However we do have to doubt this because of the origin of the source. It must obviously contain primary sources in the book but the publisher is only going to show one side because we have to take in to consideration that it was published to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Blitz. Therefore it would not show the bad things like the deaths, destruction and fear but only the bravery and unity of the British people. I can conclude from this that it is a biased source.
2. Study Sources B and C.
How useful are sources B and C in helping you to understand the effects of the Blitz on the people in Britain?
Source B is very useful in helping us to understand the effects of the Blitz on the people in Britain because it shows us that not everything went well as it is shown in Source C. It also helps us to understand the attempts of the government to keep up morale by censoring such morbid photographs as it is given in source B. Source B shows bodies in sacking and air raid wardens that are standing there but are looking helpless. It shows a variety of civilians that are trying to help but cannot really do anything. If this photograph was published it would have lowered morale and made people who were not affected by war realise that exactly what was going on. The caption above the photograph is also very useful as it tells us about the photograph and that it was dated 21 January 1943. 1943 is not a date usually associated with the Blitz but this Source tells us that the bombings on London were still occurring at a late stage.
Source C is also useful because it tells us that the government was prepared to use propaganda to keep morale up. This is probably a piece of propaganda used by the government because it is a posed photograph of a large group of people looking happy. Propaganda like this was not banned because they showed people pulling together. If people saw images like this daily then they would be encouraged to do the same as these people and face the world with 'British "grit"' even though their houses were bombed and wrecked. Not only this it’s origin is also useful to us as it was published on 15 September1940, which is when Hitler changed his tactics and started bombing London and other major cities. I think this would have been a period of time when the bombing would have been quite heavy and I doubt it if many other people were as happy as it is shown but we also have to take into account the fact that morale would have been high at the beginning of the war as many people would have thought that the bombing would stop soon.
3. Study Sources B, C and D
Does Source D support the evidence of Sources B and C about the damage done during air raids?
Source D is a primary source because it has been taken in 1940. It mainly supports the evidence of Source B because it shows damage done to civilian morale and distress to ordinary people. It also mostly supports B because it was censored for a time. Even though it is not as shocking as Source B it still had the potential to reduce morale. This is shown in Source D where I think it shows a man looting somebody else possessions and another man pointing at him accusing him of doing so. Regardless of the fact whether this man is genuine or not, Source D still shows damage and devastation as a result of bombing. Sources B and C do support this but the extent of the damage is much worse in Source D and Source B as people are not prepared to stand around and smile after their houses and possessions after they had been wrecked.
All the Sources tell us different things about the air raids. Source C shows morale was high at the beginning of the Blitz but after two months we can see in Source D that the bombing was continuing and Source B shows us that the bombing went on for a long time, over three years, not just months as many people at the time had thought.
I think that Source C does not really support Source D as Source C is a pose photograph and was released as propaganda to keep up morale. I think Sources B and D show reality and what was really going on at the time I think that is why they were censored because the photographs would show the destruction that the government had would want to conceal from the public eye as it could destroy the cooperation of the British people. Sources D and B are different though because they show damage done to different kinds of people being affected but as a hole this shows us that anybody could be affected by the Blitz.
4. Study Sources E, F and G, and use your own knowledge to explain why the government was concerned about the morale of the British people in the autumn of 1940.
After the first big raids 7th and 8th of September in London, Churchill immediately realised the importance of maintaining the morale of the British people, and so keeping their spirits high. The most obvious way of controlling the news was through censorship. The Ministry of Information was the government department that was responsible for informing people about events in the war as well as keeping up morale. The government had given itself the power to stop any news being published that it did not like. Any photographs that were likely to damage public morale were stopped from being published. These were photographs like Source B that show dead children as were photographs like Source D, which shows anger and looting. The government was also concerned that no documents, films or photographs contained any information that would be useful for the enemy. On the other hand, photographs of heroism were put on the front pages of newspapers. The government was concerned that articles which showed panic or hysteria would also lower morale, so these were also restricted. As the war progressed the government used radio, cinema and newspapers as key tools in maintaining morale and helping the British people to fight on with determination. The government was concerned that people were being too negative about the war so documentary films were produced to show people what they were fighting for and they showed a positive image of people in Britain who were getting on with their work smiling.
Radio was also very important because it was used to inform people about events that were happening and often over exaggerated acts of heroism to keep peoples morale.
Source E shows us that the government was concerned about morale as they were prepared to move elsewhere. It shows us that the effects were getting to people, if they could keep up morale people wouldn't move and others wouldn't be concerned and the Germans would feel that there was nothing they could do to lower the British morale. I think the main point in the Source that tells us that the government was right to be worried is the word 'hysterical' if lots of people were like this then there would be a lot more problems for the government to deal with and they wouldn't be able to concentrate on more important matters. The fact that this source is secret tells us that they had no reason to lie in this report and that everything that was written down was probably true this shows us that it was important to keep everybody's spirits up before there were too many occurrences of this sort.
Source F shows us that the government was right to be concerned about morale of its people. It describes how 'even the King and Queen were booed'. This shows that people lacked faith in Britain at the beginning of the Blitz. These people were supposed to be cheered up by the King and Queen because they are a patriotic symbol. Maybe because the East End of London was being heavily bombed that these people felt angry towards the King and Queen because they didn't really feel the full effects of the Blitz and that they didn't have to live in the same conditions of some of the people. The government may have been concerned that if people lost faith in the monarchy then maybe they would also lose faith in their government.
So, for maintaining its citizen’s faith in government, government tried its level best.
Source G shows us that the government was concerned about people's morale because if people's morale dropped they might not turn up for work which would mean that there wouldn't be enough planes, tanks and armaments for the British troops and the country's economy would be down. The government was concerned because everyone had fear during the Blitz and they thought they might give up and stop helping the war effort.
The government did try to disguise the real effects of bombing on people, especially on London in 1940. There is plenty of evidence that the effects were far more devastating than the newspapers let on at the time because the government was concerned about people's morale.
5. Study all the sources and use your own knowledge.
The impression that the British faced the Blitz with courage and unity is a myth.
Use the sources and your own knowledge, to explain whether you agree with this statement.
There is evidence to suggest that the British did face the Blitz with courage and unity but also substantial evidence to suggest that the above statement is not that much true and that the British were not as brave and united as they seemed.
People seemed united and spirited because they were willing to go to work for the sake of their country. If people stopped going to work then there would not be enough planes, tanks and armaments then the army would not be properly equipped. Source G supports this by claiming that 'Attendance at work remained surprisingly good.' Source G also opposes the fact that the British were brave and united throughout the Blitz because it tells us about trekking when 'flights of entire communities' escaped from their homes to the countryside to places like Epping Forest during the bombing of the East End. It also shows that people's morale was not totally destroyed, as 'many of those who trekked were the same people who continued to turn up for work.'
This source shows us both sides of the story and agrees with the statement but at the same time contradicts it. I do not think that the origin of the source makes the evidence unreliable as the source is unbiased and shows both sides to the Blitz. Even though it is a secondary source I believe that it is based on primary sources from around the time of the Blitz.
Ration books were brought in during the Second World War to make sure at times of hardship everyone had their fair share. Some people were quite happy to have rationing as it meant that for the first time in some people's lives they had a decent, healthy meal but for some people it was not that grateful. Wealthy people tried to flirt the rules by buying goods off the black market.
Another reason to suggest that the statement is true is that many people were fleeing the country and moving to other safe areas. Source E supports this by stating that 'Exodus from the East End growing rapidly. Taxi drivers report taking group after group to Euston and Paddington with belongings.' We have reason to trust this source because it was taken from a secret report and I cannot see a fair reason for somebody to lie if it was a secret report. I think this Source gives us a realistic view of what was happening at the time.
I think censorship and propaganda played an important part in many people's lives without them knowing because all around them were these terrible things happening but they were blinded to it all by the government so we get this false view that everybody was courageous and united. Two good sources to look at are Sources B and C. Source B is an example of a censored Source, this does show us a bit of the courage and unity of the British as there are obviously people trying to help but perhaps we get the falsified image of the British grit from Sources such as C that are government propaganda that show everybody smiling and pulling together .
Another reason to suggest that the statement is true is that the crime rates were extremely high during the Blitz. But Policeman were needed during the war to do other duties so people took advantage of this and often broke into peoples homes knowing that they would not be caught. Another thing that occurred during the war was looting. Where people's homes had been damaged and other people went and took their stuff which is shown in Source D. This shows that some people took advantage of other peoples unfortunate situations and that some people were committing very selfish acts.
A reason to suggest that the statement in itself is a myth is that many people were willing to accept evacuees and many of those were treated well and that the true state of the children from the inner cities became widely known. But children were not always well treated and some families just accepted children because they needed the money which was to be given by the government. This is a serious case of children being ill treated and I can guarantee that there was more like it. This shows that people used evacuation as a chance to gain extra money but that wasn't always the case and that some people may have enjoyed helping others out.
Another cause to suggest that the statement is false is that people made do because they knew there was little alternative. There was no major civil disturbances, people were not rioting or demonstrating this suggests that people endured the hardships of the war because they knew that some good would come out of it at the end of the war.
Another reason to suggest that these people were brave and united is that there were a lot of volunteer groups. These people were not paid they just genuinely wanted to help others. There were people who joined the ARP, they made sure that people were safe at night and made sure that people obeyed the blackout regulations. There were The AFS, The Auxiliary Fire Service who were volunteers who supported the Fire Service. These people risked there lives to help and save others.
So, Overall I cannot properly say that whether I agree with the statement or not because people did carry on with their lives and were brave and united but there were also cases of people being self-centred and not caring about how their actions will affect others.