The Impact On Social Attitudes In Bexley During World War Two

1588 words - 7 pages

World War Two, like other great wars, impacted the lives of many people, and although widely remembered in a negative light, World War Two changed the social attitudes of the majority. Especially in the Borough of Bexley.

World War Two triggered a significant change in the attitudes that people had towards one another. With all the death and destruction, one would assume that the lives of the citizens of Bexley would be run by fear during this terrible time, especially as Bexley happened to be an area that received a great deal of bombing. However, this was not the case. A temperament known as the ‘Blitz Spirit’ was widely adopted, encouraging the citizens of Bexley to rally together and face the war with courage and optimism.

This community was spirit was shown in a multitude of ways, for example, through the preparation. Information sheets on the use of public trench shelters were issued by the Borough Engineering and surveyor in 1940. This way of informing the public and making sure that they were aware of what to do illustrates the way in which the community was brought together in an attempt to make sure that nobody was hurt. An array of precautions were put in place, to limit the number of casualties, and in order for this to happen, many underground emergency hospitals were designed, with volunteers from the community helping to run them. The forms of protection that Bexley had in place were obviously useful, as although Bexley had thousands of people with injuries, only 155 people were killed from September 1939 to May 1945.

An article from the Evening Standard, published on the 13th January 1941, states that ‘Seventeen women and children who were trapped in the basement of a London house damaged by a bomb... shouted to the wardens who went to their rescue, “We’re alright. Look after everybody else’... started singing ‘Tipperary’, and shouting to the people in the road. “Are we downhearted? No”.’ This suggests that although people were getting bombed, the morale was still high as the people were singing in spite of the fact that they were being wounded by the war, and although they had been hurt, they were telling the wardens to look after everybody else. This supports the notion that the community of Bexley were caring for each other in such tough times. In fact, even Hitler, in his war directive against England on the 6th February 1941 said that ‘The bombing campaign has had the least effect of all... on the morale and will to resist of the English people’. This quote further proves that the individuals in Bexley were not letting the war depress them. Adolf Hitler even proceeded to say that ‘No decisive success can be expected from terror attacks on residential areas’, sustaining the idea that the community spirit was so strong that Hitler himself was losing confidence in the idea that bombing residential areas would bring down the morale of areas such as Bexley.

However, one could contest that a sizeable...

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