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Describe the effects of the Blitz on everyday life in Britain.Please include:...

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bonzob | Student | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted October 2, 2009 at 12:19 AM via web

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Describe the effects of the Blitz on everyday life in Britain.

Please include: Evacuation, Daily Routine, Black out, Morale, Home Guard, Where and when, Work and volunteering.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 10, 2009 at 2:35 PM (Answer #1)

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That's a very large question, probably the subject for an essay, so in the limited space I have, let me give you some things to consider for each of those areas and that will get you started.

In terms of evacuation, keep in mind that the blitz lasted for over ten months, so the evacuations were not of individual cities for the short term, but from almost all cities in southern England and for the long term.  Children, wives, mothers, and the elderly were sent to safer cities in the north and Scotland to stay with relatives and others who volunteered.  This long term separation and the loss of tens of thousands of civilians meant many of those children were orphaned.  Living separately and in constant fear of losing their parents, the event scarred a generation.

As for daily routine, imagine that for weeks and even months on end your city was bombed daily.  This meant converting large amounts of public and private space into shelters for those who had lost their homes and for those seeking shelter from the bombing.  Subways, schools, churches (which were less likely to be targeted), cellars and basements all were used as air raid shelters, and the urban English knew where the nearest shelter was at all times.  Your workplace may have been destroyed as well, so pitching in to clear rubble, fight fires, care for the wounded all fell to the civilian population.

Blackouts were essential to denying the German Luftwaffe illuminated targets and became daily habit, reinforced by local volunteers (The Home Guard) and police who aggressively enforced it.  Consider the inconveniences this would cause each day.

Hitler counted on crushing English morale and will to fight by punishing London and other cities so badly.  It was a serious blunder on his part, as the more London burned, the higher english morale seemed to be.  They told jokes, developed a gallows humor and simply refused to submit.  There were dark days, to be sure, but the constant bombardment left a population that, in the end, decided to live day to day and moment to moment.

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