The Effects of the Blitz on Everyday Life in Britian

The Effects of the Blitz on Everyday Life in Britian
The Blitz was the Germans attempt to destroy British transport and
industry. Large industrial areas such as the London docks were bombed
frequently and mass transport systems such as the trains were targeted
and attacked by the German air force (the Luftwaffe), other key areas
in transport and industry that were targeted for regular attacks, were
the key road junctions, power stations and ports.
The Blitz began on the 17th September and spanned almost a year, until the late summer of 1941. The Blitz was a period of time in which the government set out strict regulations for the British people to follow in order to ensure their safety. It was also a very bizarre period of time as many things that would normally be quite drastic and devastating became common place for example the 13,000 deaths from bombing alone over just 4 months and the destruction of 157 houses in a single night began to be considered common practice by the British public, and although people began to settle to this lifestyle and adjust to these terrible living conditions, the continual bombing and death was still depressing and lowered people?s morale knowing that their houses were being destroyed and that their family members were being killed. During the Second World War many women volunteered to become Air Raid Wardens. The role of air raid wardens was to ensure that the governments war regulations were being kept, the government empowered the air raid wardens to issue penalties and fines to those who weren?t upholding the regulations, for example if an air raid Warden was dissatisfied with the quality of someone?s window which had been improperly taped then the air raid wardens would be able to issue a fine or a warning. During the beginning of the Second World War the English government assigned everyone in major cities with gas masks, as there had been fears that the German bombs would contain toxic gases, this was yet another duty for Air Raid Wardens, as it was illegal for any man, woman or child to be found not carrying a gas mask. However towards the end of the Blitz this was scrapped, as it had become clear that the Germans were not going to use gas bombs. However the main role of an Air Raid Warden was to ensure safety and efficiency during the air raids and the aftermath of bombing for example the air raid wardens would check every household every night for the number of people who were staying there and would note this down so that in case of a house being destroyed or catching fire, so that rescuers would not waste time looking for people who were not there. Many women volunteered to become air raid wardens out of sheer desperation to contribute to the war effort, as many women who were desperate to help the war effort but had been classified as either immobile or unfit to work (due to disability or having family responsibilities). The Blitz also had a very drastic effect on the sleep patterns of those in London, as during the blitz many people would go for nights on end with very little to no sleep. This shows very high levels of sleep deprivation as only a small minority of the population were getting the recommended 6 hours of sleep a day, and the remaining members of the public would gradually become very tired and exhausted. These vast cases of sleep deprivation contributed greatly to lowering the public?s morale. During the Blitz very few citizens remained in their homes, this could have been for a number of reasons, one most probable cause is the high risk of bombing, and the possibility of dying of they were to stay at their home. Another fairly common reason would be the disturbances to sleep, this was perhaps due to the Governments regulations for example below is a table which shows the number of evacuees from London in September 1939. Schoolchildren 827,000 Mothers and Children 524,000 Pregnant Women 13,000 Blind and Disabled people 7,000 Teachers 103,000 This shows that quite a substantial amount of people were evacuated into the countryside so that they may be protected from the more drastic and extreme bombing. Although evacuation did have some negative effects on the general public, for example in some cases families were split up again lowering morale and in other cases well off families were forced to except poverty stricken children, who they treated quite poorly. However the evacuation did have a positive effect as for the first time the true state of children from the poorest areas of Britain became widely known. Another quite large proportion of the people in the major cities took part in ?trekking?, this is when residents of London would evacuate the city, and stay the night in Epping Forest. This allowed many to escape major sleep deprivation and to avoid bombing and injury; this was very common as a large amount of Londoners did this nightly evacuation to Epping Forest. A large proportion of people decided to stay in public bomb shelters or places that would be quite well protected from bombing like Tube stations. This was due to growing panic and hysteria all over the major cities. As many people fearing for their own and their families lives would spend the night in the tube stations or bomb shelters so they could try and get undisturbed sleep and so that they did not have to worry about the effects of bombing on themselves. Again quite a large proportion of Londoners decided to do this. The bombing was worst in the major cities of the time like London and Oxford, because at the time of the war these cities were considered places of large industrial wealth, having many factories and also had large transport system links like the rail tracks. However the major cities were also targeted so that the Germans would have a larger impact on people?s lives, as in large cities the houses are all clustered together, so with just one bomb in London you could destroy several houses, and possibly kill several people. However in the countryside if you were to drop a bomb then you were less likely to hit any targets and if you did manage to hit a target then you would affect very few people.

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