Britain in the Age of Total War, 1939-45

From source A I can only learn a little about the response of the British people to the effects of the blitz I know when the blitz was as it the book was to celebrate 50 yrs of the Blitz. The source doesn’t contain much information about how people responded but tells a little. The source is from a book written 50 years after the Blitz and there is not much information written about how people felt but the source says that people showed that they didn’t have to be in uniform to be heroes. This tells me that the British people were proud of themselves and thought of themselves as heroes.

From this I can also learn that the Blitz wasn’t getting to people as the people were proud and tying to get on with their lives. Also from this quote I can tell that the British people who weren’t in the army also were involved in the Blitz as people not in uniform were also heroes this means that the British people must have played a part in the Blitz. Also I can learn that the British people were full of courage at a time full of tragedy and terror and that the British people were determined to overcome the Blitz.

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Also I can learn that people tried to forget about the Blitz by amusing themselves and others. This shows that the British people were courageous during this period. However the source is of limited use as it is from a book made after 50 yrs of the Blitz and some of the information might be made up as the book was published to celebrate the Blitz and the book wouldn’t have been made to remind people of the bad times and that’s why there are positive facts written and also 50 yrs is a long time to remember everything and some facts may be made up just for the sake of it. verall I can learn that the blitz was a time of terror and tragedy for the British people and they showed courage to overcome it. Sources B and C are quite useful in helping me understand the effect of the Blitz on people in Britain. In source B I can see the evidence as it is a photograph and I can see how the Blitz effected people as the photograph shows a picture of a bombed school and there are bodies in sacks. Also I can learn that the government wanted to keep morale of people up as the source explains that photographs to do anything with the war had to be approved of before it could be published.

By banning the photographs showing dead people, bodies etc, I know that the government didn’t want people worrying about the disasters that were happening. Also I know that the bombing was random as the photo is showing a school so that means that bombing wasn’t targeted and this shows that people who weren’t in the battlefield were also effected. But the source has some learning limitations as it is only a snapshot and I don’t now where else the bombing happened. And were there any other particular places that got bombed.

Also from the date I can learn that the Blitz continued after it had ended as there was still bombing going on after the Blitz as the photograph shows. Although the photograph was taken after the Blitz years I can learn that people were still effected by the Blitz as is still continued after it ended. I can learn that many people in Britain were never able to see what happened as photos like source B were censored, but for a good cause as the government didn’t want people to worry.

Source C is also helpful in understanding the effects of the Blitz on people as this source is also a photograph and in the photograph there is a whole crowd of people with furniture next to them. This is because their houses were blown up and they have some of the wreckages from their homes. Also I have some location given of where some of the bombing happened as the caption mentions North London. I can learn that the people were trying to forget about the effects of the Blitz as the photograph shows the people smiling and seem happy even though they have lost their homes this is showing the British ‘grit’.

The photograph is useful as it was taken during the Blitz unlike source B which was taken afterwards. However the source has the same limitations as source B as the photograph only concentrates on one place and we don’t’ know if bombing was going on elsewhere, but the source is taken in the Blitz year so we know where bombing happened during the Blitz also we don’t know if the photograph is staged as I don’t think that people would be happy that they have had their homes destroyed and the government wanted to keep morale up

Overall both sources are useful to me in understanding the effects of the blitz on people as the sources show me the difference between the two sides of the war and therefore give me a good understanding of the effects on the British people. Source D does support some of the evidence in sources B and C as firstly source D is a photograph taking during the years of the Blitz and shows the wreckages as a result of the Blitz. Source C was also taken at the time of the Blitz although source B wasn’t.

Source D shows people going through wreckages to look for some of their property as their houses were bombed and they are looking for whats left of their property. This is supported by source C but not B as source C shows the people with some of their belongings next to them but not all as some could have been destroyed by bombing but source B doesn’t show any belongings of people or people searching for belongings except people clearing up bodies. In source D it shows buildings destroyed.

This is supported by both sources B and C as source B shows the school bombed and source C shows people outside as their homes have been destroyed because of the bombing. Another thing that source D doesn’t agree about is bombing in London as source B and C do as source D is showing a photograph of Coventry and a different place where bombing has happened. Source D also doesn’t show people being killed or dead as source B does but source C doesn’t also show dead people.

So sources C and D agree on one thing but B doesn’t. Source D shows people angry and fighting over wreckages, this shows me that the British ‘grit’ wasn’t real as it doesn’t show people together and getting on and also the caption ‘sorting personal property’ says that people weren’t sticking together as they were taking what belonged to them and not helping others. All the sources agree that the bombing was done randomly as there are different areas bombed in all the sources and nothing was targeted.

The government was concerned about keeping the morale of the British people up in the autumn of 1940 as it didn’t want people to lose confidence in them and didn’t want people to feel it couldn’t trust the government. The government relied on media to lift the moral of the country, otherwise all support for the war would be lost and all the industries that were needed for the war effort would not be able to produce anything without the workers.

The government were aware of this which is why they were so concerned about morale. The confidence of the country was important for the vital production of war materials. If the public were depressed and scared of a town or city since it was being bombed they would move. The government did not want this to happen, because if the people left the cities there would be no one to work in the factories or workhouses.

So in turn the government made every effort to keep the spirits up, believing a happy worker is a better worker and from this the government would gain more confidence knowing that it will be backed up by the British people in helping them come through the Blitz. Also the government didn’t want people to worry as it already had a big problem and needed to get through that. If the morale wasn’t up then the government would have been faced with 2 big problems and they were both important as the British people were needed to overcome the Blitz and if morale fell then the people wont help.

Also there was another concern as the Government wanted to keep the British people safe and needed to find shelters for those who had their homes destroyed but the government feared that by making shelters underground, hordes of people might fall into the bowels of the earth and never come out, making them useless to the war effort and this would mean that there would be less people helping in war productions and staying underground would mean morale going down as people would want to help their country but can’t do anything underground as it was only a place for shelter and usually small only for people to fit in and people would feel useless and if morale is down then people wouldn’t want to help in the war effort as they would be feeling low.

The government had to build the shelters to keep the morale up as Hitler was doing it and the shelters that he built were better and indestructible and comfortable and if the government didn’t do this then the British people would not have faith in it’s government. Also the government was concerned about the morale as many people were trying to flee the country as they had no where to go and the bombing was getting to them. This made the government feel that the British people didn’t trust them as they were trying to get away even though the government said that they would be secure. So this made the government use proper gander to make people stay and show people that the morale of the British people was up.

Also when the bombing started there was no warning and Hitler wanted to put down the morale of the British people and was succeeding as the bombing in the East End was severe as illustrated in Source E. this shows that Hitler’s objective was become reality as it was affecting the morale of the British people as they were confused and scared. Also the government had to be concerned as there was bitterness (source F) in the East End as the King and Queen were booed. And this meant that the morale was going down as people lost confidence in the King and Queen. The government did try to avoid the morale going down by not letting people know what was going on and get them to concentrate on other things as source G suggests. The Impression that the British faced the Blitz with courage and unity is a myth.

In my opinion, this statement is both right and wrong. To a certain extent, many Britain’s fled from the Blitz and became disheartened. But at the same time there are stories of great courage and individual bravery. Here are my reasons for and against the statement. Many people feel that the Blitz was a success for everyone. This is because if it had not have succeeded, Britain would have been almost certainly invaded by Germany. Source A supports this by saying “out of terror and tragedy came courage and an unshakeable determination. Those at home in the most appalling circumstances kept their sins of humour “. This source is from a book celebrating the Blitz.

For everyone to stay together would take determination and it shows that things cannot have been that. That sentence goes against myth totally. During the blitz the government used proper gander this is when something terrible is happening but the government don’t want people to get worried so tell them a lie in order to cover up the real truth. So away of using proper gander was to stage photographs this is when they gather a group of people and tell them what to do to make it look like that they are getting on well. This was done to keep the morale up of the British people. I think that this is supported by source C. I say this because by looking at the faces of the people in the photograph the people look happy.

I think at a time like that people would be sad as they have lost their homes, belongings etc. This source supports the idea that the courage was a myth as I think that the people in the photograph are actors used for proper gander by the government. Also in newspapers written by the Germans and English it shows why the courage of the British people was a myth as a British and German newspaper had two completely different views on what happened at Dunkirk in the 1940’s. A German picture magazine called Signal published this: ‘the great battle of annihilation. Altogether more than 1. 2 million prisoners have fallen into German hands, besides limitless amounts of war material … France and Britain’s finest troops are annihilated. ‘

An English version was published in the Daily Mirror giving an account of the same event: ‘for days thousands of our brave men of the B. E. F. have been pouring through a port somewhere in England, battle-worn, but thank god, safe and cheerful in spite of weariness. ‘ Both publications are very optimistic in their wording but only one set of events can have taken place in reality, and it is impossible to say who is nearer the truth but we can say how bias each is. This shows that the false impressions the public were given. With constantly encouraging words like this it is not as surprising that people kept their spirits up and this suggests that the statement that the courage of the British people is a myth as the courage comes form false pretences.

By looking at the source A it says that the courage and unity is true as it talks about people being courageous and thinking themselves as heroes but doesn’t say that people were together and isn’t much reliable as it is from a book. Source B says that it was a myth and wasn’t as it shows courage by the workers as they are putting bodies in bags so this must mean they were courageous and also the photo was banned because of what it showed and this shows that unity was real and goes against myth, However source C could be seen both ways as it shows courage and unity as people are sticking together and showing courage but it could be a myth as the photo could be staged by the government to keep up morale.

Source D suggests that the statement is a myth as it shows people arguing and this does not show courage and unity. source E also suggests that the courage and unity is a myth as people are running away as they are scared and they are not showing courage. Also there is Bitterness (source F) towards the king and queen and this shows how people reacted. Overall the statement is true and false. There are reasons for it being true and false. Most of the sources suggest that the courage and unity was a myth as most of the sources show that people weren’t being courageous and who can blame them as the bombing will get to people and they can’t be happy when they are scared.

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