In what ways did the Nazi bombings during the 1940-1941 Blitz affect British society during and after World War II?
Section 1: Identification and Evaluation of Sources Partial Example
In 1940, barely a year into World War Two, the Nazis had conquered and occupied much of Poland, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Belgium and a majority of France. Upon the appointment of Winston Churchill to the British Parliament, Hitler realized that Churchill’s outspoken desire to stop the Nazis would not allow him to attack the Soviet Union without British interference. In early August of 1940, Germany began bombing British cities using “lighting warfare”, known as the Blitz. This investigation will focus on the social effects resulting from the Nazi bombings in the 1940-1941 Blitz in Great Britain during and after World War II. This investigation will examine the immediate effects on civilians during the bombings as well as the long-term effects on civilians that developed after the war. In order to determine the answer to the research question: In what ways did the Nazi bombings during the 1940-1941 Blitz affect British society during and after World War II? The investigation will focus on British unity, the destruction of infrastructure and housing, and the impact on the population’s health.
The research for this investigation relies on both primary and secondary sources. A crucial primary source for this investigation was Their Finest Hour, by Winston Churchill in 1949. The value for relying on Their Finest Hour for research relates to the author’s credibility, as this is volume two of his six volume series, The Second World War, which awarded Churchill the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953. In addition to chronicling the events of WWII, historian John Keegan stated the source includes a “...record of meetings, debate, and disagreements with a world of people” as well as offering the point of view of the acting prime minister of Britain (xii). However this source maybe limited as Churchill was a member of aristocracy, and he most likely didn’t share the same experience as the commoners during the Blitz, resulting in a limited perspective.
A commonly cited secondary source in this investigation is The Many Not the Few; the Stolen History of the Battle of Britain written by Richard North in 2012...(essay goes on to evaluate a second source)
Section 2: Investigation Partial Example
The Blitz is known as an event that united Britain. This feeling resulted from people “…going through it together, putting up with eight months of constant bombardment…” (qtd in Geoghegan). Historian Stephen Bungay agrees, claiming, national unity stemmed from “…many ordinary people [remembering] the spirit of co-operation and friendliness they met from complete strangers,” but Bungay differs from Geoghegan by citing Churchill’s assertion “that the nation was united” as another reason (393). Historians North and Churchill also support the notion that Britain became more unified. Groups composed of men and women from all classes were compelled to volunteer as fire-watchers, “…the numbers required were so great, and the feeling that every man should take his turn upon the roster so strong, fire-watching soon became compulsory” (Churchill 327). Not only did fire-watching attract volunteers, but other local initiatives did as well, “…from priests to the monstrous legion of women, individuals, groups, charities and officials acting on their own initiatives, collectively saved the day” (North 341). The collective support of each other among Britons can be contributed to the Blitz because it forced people to collaborate in order to survive the ordeal and they carried this sense of unity past the duration of the war….(essay continues for 2 more paragraphs)
Historians identify British unity, infrastructure and housing, and change in the welfare of Britons as ways the Blitz affected society. The Blitz forced the people to work together and help each other get through the chronic bombings. Although some historians argue the Blitz created more chaos and agitation in the masses, most historians agree it created a sense of unity and defiance against the Germans. The bombs caused great destruction to major urban centers and homes. As a result, sanitation declined and many people were left homeless. During the bombings, people crowded into shelters which became breeding grounds for sickness. While some historians stress that the Blitz gave citizens more confidence, it created psychological problems through symptoms of emotional stress and memories of evacuated children.
Bungay, Stephen. The Most Dangerous Enemy: a History of the Battle of Britain. London: Aurum Press Ltd, 2000. Print.
Churchill, Winston. Their Finest Hour. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1949. Print.
Field, Geoffrey. "Nights Underground in Darkest London: The Blitz, 1940–1941." International Labor and Working-Class History 62 (2002): 11-49. Web.
Geoghegan, Tom. “Did the Blitz Really Unify Britain?” BBC News Magazine. 08 September 2010. Web. 09 September 2014. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11213968
Holland, James. The Battle of Britain: Five Months that Changed History, May - October 1940. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2010. Print.
Korda, Michael. With Wings LIke Eagles: a History of the Battle of Britain. New York: HarperCollins, 2009. Print.
North, Richard. The Many Not the Few; the Stolen History of the Battle of Britain. New York: Bloomsbury USA, 2012. Print.
Prest, David. “Evacuees in World War Two - the True Story” BBC History. 17 February 2011. Web. 12 September 2014. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/britain_wwtwo/evacuees_01.shtml