Despair And Fear During The Battle Of Britain

1696 words - 7 pages

Was high and strong British morale during the Battle of Britain an historical reality? This investigation determines how the British people were affected by the Luftwaffe’s attacks on their cities and the British Royal Air Force. In order to disprove or prove the idea that the British morale was high and strong, the investigation will evaluate their reactions, individual’s quotes, songs, and a newspaper article. One source, “World War II Blackout Regulations”, is a newspaper article outlining the rules in the case of a Blackout and the description of the Blackout by a citizen who experienced it. The investigation will include the attack on Coventry specifically and the Blackout. It will not include, however, information on other countries’ reactions towards Britain nor detailed weapons use.
Summary of Evidence
Adolf Hitler gave Britain a final chance for peace in his speech, “A Last Appeal to Reason”. When Sefton Delmer heard Hitler’s speech, he “spontaneously, without government approval, [ . . . ] rejected any notion of a compromise[d] peace”(Lee Richards). Delmer replied to the speech, “ ‘Herr Hitler, you have on occasion in the past consulted me as to the mood of the British public. [. . . ] Let me tell you what we here in Britain think of this appeal of yours to what you are pleased to call our reason and common sense. Herr Fuher and Reichskanzler, we hurl it right back at you, right in your evil smelling teeth”(Richards). During the war, “popular songs were important in keeping up morale” so people created songs that were positive, such as There’ll Always Be An England (Paul Halsall). This song elevates Britain with its upbeat lyrics, “Red, white and blue; what does it mean to you? /Surely you’re proud, shout it aloud, [ . . . ] /There’ll always be an England, /And England shall be free/ If England means as much to you/ As England means to me” (Halsall). In addition, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill proclaimed “I see the damage done by the enemy attacks, but I also see ... the spirit of an unconquered people.'” (Merseyside Maritime Museum). At face value, British morale seemed high.
Aircrafts can use lights on the ground as a guide to the land below. In order to help protect citizens from bombings at night, the government imposed the Blackout, which meant that everyone had to have all lights out, including streetlights, flashlights, fires, and house lights, when certain alarms went off. Gordon Cornell, town and village historian, remembers this “as a pre-teenager at the time, these blackouts were a rather frightening occasion. These alarms brought the village to a standstill, as we laid on our beds or sat in our chairs, in TOTAL darkness, and listened attentively for the sounds of ‘friend or foe’”(Gordon Cornell, Betty Tabor, Allyn Hess Perry, Jeanette Shiel). Even with this precaution for the Luftwaffe, people still died, now from limited sight. The blackout “caused serious problems for the people travelling by motor car....

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