The Blitz
Was a German bombing campaign against Britain after their failure at the "Battle of Britain". The Blitz was designed to diminish the moral of Britain, to do this Germany aimed to bomb Civilians. A belief was generated after the Guernica bombing during the Spanish Civil War that Civilian targets can be bombed to submission causing the people to pressure their government to surrender or revolt against their government. The first Blitz started from September 7th 1940 and continued to May 1941 (there is a belief that a second blitz occurred in 1944 - 45 with the use of the V- Weapons).

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British Civilians hinding out in the Underground Rail Stations
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The Blitz
In the beginning the government did not allow people to use underground rail stations as shelter believing them to be a safety hazard, but the people forced their way into the tunnels to hide from both the high explosive and incendiary bombs. With a few exceptions, the tunnels have served to be a very safe shelter from the bombs. Even though at night blackout restrictions were in affect in Britain the Luftwaffe were able to follow the river Thames, which also directed them to the docks based at the east end of London. The Luftwaffe also had a secret weapon called the Knickebein (crooked leg), which was two radio beams directed from stations located in mainland Europe, a bomber would fly along one beam and release their payload one they intersect with the second, but British scientists were able to jam these beams. Later the X-Verfahren was produced which used four beams and a clockwork timer linked to the beams and bomb release. Every night the Luftwaffe would drop incendiary bombs first to mark out targets for the high explosive bomber wave. Britain's defenses included anti-aircraft guns, searchlights and an early warning system. The ROC (Royal Observer Corps) had many units based on the coast where they could inform the authorities in London of impending attacks. ROC units based on the West Coast could also give early warning messages of German bombers coming in from Norway. As Britain had no night-time fighters at the time, the Luftwaffe had to survive against AA fire, barrage balloons and searchlights. Within the cities of Britain services such as the ARP (Air Raid Precautions) wardens, police, the AFS (Auxiliary Fire Service, who coped with many fires caused by the dropped incendiary bombs), the Woman's Voluntary Service and other service groups served vital roles both during and after bombing raids. By March 1941 the British air force became equip with improved radar equipment allowing them to better find German planes, raising the amount of German planes shot down over Britain.

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British Children made Homeless from the Blitz
The British government used propaganda and censorship to portray daily life as normal despite the constant bombing raids. An American film "London can take it" presented the image of London devastated by bombs but carried on as normal. The narrator makes the point that "bombs can only kill people, they cannot destroy the indomitable spirit of a nation." However life was not quite as easy as the media showed. British civilians did take it but without chose. Under wartime restrictions civilians could not simply leave their homes and move elsewhere. The poorest people in London lived on the east end of the city which was had hit due to the presence of the docks based there. Most families could do little else except stay where they were unless specifically moved by the government
"When morning came we left the shelter and made our way home. There was no home. All that was left was a pile of bricks. We had nowhere to live except the shelter, and that was to be our home for six months." - A victim at Liverpool. These 'trapped' families developed what became known as ‘war-time spirit’. They adapted to the constant night-time bombing. Hitler called off the Blitz in May 1941 and moved his sights to the east which required a huge military force which included many bombers and two-thirds of the German military which will be tied up on the Eastern Front for the duration of the war. The Blitz claimed 43,000 lives across Britain and rendered 1.4 million people homeless, Britain's industrial sector has been damaged from the raids but was able to recover quickly. During the Blitz the British government created there own version of the Blitz against Germany but the Germans expressed the same ‘war-time’ spirit as the British civilians.

History Learning Site: The Blitz
H.P. Willmott, Robin Cross, Charles Messenger, "World War II", DK Publishings, INC, 2004.