When the Blitz started in September, 1940, it came as a huge shock, causing panic to the British people. The epic bombing reigned throughout Britain; London was demolished in 57 consecutive nights, Coventry took a blow in two nights as 450 bombs were dropped, leaving 568 dead and in Southampton, emergency back-up was completely scarce. The tragic events that had taken place were devastating; the effects were immense. But, what were the effects of the Blitz on everyday life in Britain?
In this essay, I will explain the results, impact and consequences on everyday life in Britain, the time when civilians were petrified and the government just as anxious. The German Luftwaffe had complete supremacy and control of the skies; on average the Germans would drop 200 tonnes of bombs every twenty-four hours. Moreover, the destruction caused was worse than expected; the destruction of buildings and homes was colossal. The effect of desolation had a huge impact on everyday life, as it enclosed on London.
Fires caused by the bombs blazed throughout London and the fire services couldn’t fight it; amongst the gigantic fires were dead bodies and for these firemen, it was a dreadful sight; lives were easily ruined by the shear destruction of The Blitz. People realised the impact on their lives, and how this phase of attack would change it. Disruption was another major effect; as the bombs ploughed on Britain, essential home services were paralysed and civilians across Britain had no basic needs in their houses.
Gas and water supply was inadequate. This transforming of life gave people sleepless nights; the catastrophic amount of deaths was incredible. Grief had to be abandoned; there was no-time to realise the severe devastation of the bombings and the number of deaths that were cause because of it. This had a big part to play in the everyday life; loved ones had died and the people of Britain had to carry on. And amongst the grieving citizens were the voluntary workers.
The destruction taken place meant the workers had to fight their way through the blistering fires; dead bodies or even just parts of bodies were recovered. This was a dreadful sight for people who had once worked in the post office or bakery. But their spirit and strength had to get them through it. Morale was important to keep up and had a huge effect on everyday life; the government censored news reels, pictures and articles so the true destruction was kept secret.
However, the Blitz spirit kept the British people going and strong; Winston Churchill used this myth of the spirit and for many people, the war was a great time for them because everyone was one unit. He believed “If we all pull together, Britain can really help the rest of Europe”. This made the people feel as if they were a real lifeline to Europe and they carried on, strong. However, the Blitz also gave people the chance to loot and trek.
Big groups of people would go into destroyed houses and steal expensive objects, just before the services arrived; people also travelled far away, trekking to places such as Tilbury in Essex. Morale also had an effect on women; they played a vital part in the war effort. Even going through tiredness, sickness and inadequate meals, they set up kitchens to provide hot meals, walked miles to grocers or butchers to get food supplies and they also opened centres and halls for the homeless.
Morale in London was kept by one thought; if St. Paul’s Cathedral was still standing then the strength would keep going. The effects of the Blitz on everyday life were phenomenal; destruction, disruption, devastation and morale were all the consequences of a disastrous attack that left thousands dead. The British battled through it and the strength kept them going. It was a phenomenal attempt to destroy Britain but the civilians’ self-belief was higher. Churchill led them and they certainly met the expectations of being an important lifeline to Europe. Everyday life had changed but the British came out on top.