Impact of the Second World War on Society
The Blitz: n. An intensive air raid or series of air raids. The blitz
started on the 7th November, 1940. It happened largely by accident. On
the night of August 24th, 1940, Luftwaffe bombers aiming or military
targets on the outskirts of London flew off course and dropped their
bombs on the centre of London destroying several homes and killing
civilians. Churchill, believing it to be a deliberate attack, ordered
the bombing of Berlin the following night.
About 40 British planes made it to Berlin and inflicted minimal
property damage, but the Germans were stunned by the attack. It was
the first time Bombs had fallen on Berlin, and they had been assured
this couldn't happen by the Luftwaffe Chief, Hermann GÃ˜ring that this
could never happen.
Two more British attacks followed, resulting in Germans killed on the
ground. German nerves were frayed, the Nazis outraged. Hitler
threatened "â€¦When the British Air Force drops two or three or four
thousand kilograms of bombs, then we will in one night drop 150-,
230-, 300- or 400,000 kilograms." They were not going to take this
lying down, and beginning September 7th London was bombed for 57
consecutive nights, but the blitz continued until May 1941. During
this time other cities were also bombed including Portsmouth, Exeter,
Bath, Manchester and Belfast.
However, this decision to bomb London and other major cities proved to
be the most fateful decision of the war. Up to that point, the
Luftwaffe had targeted RAF (Royal Air Force) airfields and support
installations and had nearly destroyed the entire British air defence
system. Switching to an all out attack on British Cities gave RAF
Fighter Command a desperately needed break and the opportunity to
rebuild damaged airfields, train new pilots and repair aircraft.
The air attacks left 1.4 million homeless and 40553 dead. Hitler's aim
was to break the moral of England, but instead it had the opposite
effect, bringing the English people together to face a common enemy.
German hate grew, and phrases such as "A good German is a dead German"
soon sprang up. 18000 tons of high explosive was dropped on England
during eight months of the Blitz. A total of 18629 men, 16201 women,
and 5028 children were killed along with 695 unidentified charred
During the nightly air raids, people had to take the following
Blackout:n. The extinguishing or concealing of lights that might be
visible to enemy aircraft during an air raid at night. On September 1st,
1939, it became an offence to allow any light to be visible from
outside a building at night. This was to prevent German bombers
finding their targets.
ARP (Air Raid Patrol) wardens patrolled the streets looking for chinks
of light from a...