Britain at War
Back to Britain at War Homework Help
Britain At War From The Very Beginning
This is Joanna's research on Britain at war during the early years.
Adolf Hitler wanted to make Germany the strongest country in the world. He wanted to conquer the world. Britain remained neutral for the first few days, until Poland was invaded. As Britain had promised to stand by Poland they kept their word and joined in the war.
The use of poisonous gases in Word War I made the government more wary of the possible usage of poisonous gas again. To take all precautions a gas mask was given to every person living in England for free, however young or old they were. Babies had special gas masks designed for them. Some people decorated their gas mask boxes to make them look more like their other possessions. In fact there were no poisonous gases used in the whole of World War II.
Almost one and a half million people were evacuated in September 1939. They were mostly moved from the south-east as this was the nearest area to Germany, and from the large cities as they were good bombing targets. People were mostly moved to the safer countryside and further north.
The whole transport system was reserved for evacuation processes for four days although most people moved in one weekend.
On 8th January 1940 rationing was introduced. It was a fair way of distributing food to everyone. Rationing was a wonderful improvement in poor people's lives, as before it was established if you had the money to buy it you could have whatever food you wanted and the poor were often left with little or nothing to eat. The main reason for rationing was that the German submarines and bombers were destroying the ships that were bringing overseas food to Britain. In May 1941 clothes rationing was introduced and every year people were given 66 coupons to use. These could be used to buy the clothes that the person wanted but guidelines were given as to what they should be spent on e.g.:
Item of clothing No. of coupons 1 dress, dressing gown or jacket 11 2 pairs of shoes 10 6 pairs of stockings 12 1 night-dress, 1 lingerie set, 1 slip 13 2 pairs of gloves 4 1 jersey, 1 cardigan 7 In reserve - for apron, scarf, etc. 8 Total 66
In 1939 all men aged between 18 and 41 had to register with the government who decided whether or not they should go into the army or help the country in another way. Most of their jobs were taken over by women and people who had retired. Doctors etc. had to stick to their jobs as a country at war without a doctor cannot treat the injured who are sent home or those who are injured or ill at home.
Unmarried women between 19 and 30 also had to register for work to help the army or in industrial work. Married women were not called up for army work because of the effects it might have on their families. Even so, many married women volunteered to do war work at the same time as looking after families.
On 14th May 1940 the Home Guard/Local Defence Volunteers was set up. Their job was to help Britain defend itself from an attack by working in their local area. Men from 17 to 65 could join. A quarter of a million men joined on the first day. ARP's (Air Raid Precautions) were employed to shout 'Put that light out!' whenever they saw a light during the blackout. They were people who were too old to fight.
Blitzkrieg is the name the Germans gave to their lightning war plan. To start with this name fitted the German army perfectly. There was nothing that could stop them in the beginning. It only took them one month to conquer Poland.
In May 1940 Hitler turned to the west. His next goal was to conquer France. He knew that the French army had strong defence forces all along the German border. To avoid this Hitler's route was inevitable, it also meant that he conquered more countries on the way. He invaded Holland, then Belgium and then France from the border they were not expecting the Nazis to come from. Then he headed for the English Channel. All this only took two months.
300,000 British troops were trapped on the coast of France at Dunkirk. Their only escape was by sea. On 27th May Winston Churchill set up Operation Dynamo. This was a plan to rescue the soldiers from Dunkirk by boat. From pleasure steamers to fishing boats, they all helped to rescue the troops. Most of the soldiers were saved, the rest were either drowned or bombed on the beaches and shores of Dunkirk by the Germans.
- Battle of Britain
Hitler's next objective was to invade Britain. To do this he decided to exhaust the RAF so that Britain wouldn't have the forces to hold back the Germans. The German fighter planes were told to fly close together so that they could protect each other.
A big problem for the Germans was that the British were destroying many of their fighter planes and they were only making 156 planes per month. The British weren't losing half so many planes and they were making 563 planes per month. That's 3.6 times as many as the Germans! Another problem for the Germans was that their fighter planes could only carry enough fuel to fly over Britain for 30 minutes at a time.
On 7th September the Germans suddenly changed target. They started bombing London instead. As the weather got worse it became more and more obvious that Germany hadn't been quite quick enough to exhaust the British forces to make it safe for them to invade. Ten days later the invasion plans were cancelled.
Back to Britain at War Homework Help
© Woodlands Junior School Terms & Conditions |
Woodlands Junior School, Hunt Road Tonbridge Kent TN10 4BB