The Second World War Essay

The Second World War Essay

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The Second World War was an event that could only be measured against the first Great War that had barely finished two decades prior. The concept of the ‘People’s War’ arose in Britain because the front line began to leak onto the home front and civilian lives were structured by the war. With the threat of attack and invasion many people accepted the policies of the government including controlled propaganda, volunteer Home Guard, evacuation and air raid shelters. Once the reality of the threat was realised and the false alarms became valid warnings, the Blitz became a part of everyday life for women, children and families of the cities. The burden of war had fallen onto the population of Britain and they were to unite once they found a collective national identity. Therefore to evaluate the extent of the ‘People’s War’ all of these elements must be analysed. To understand if a social change occurred, the class, gender and minority divisions would had to have been leveled to some degree, where the entirety of the population worked together for one purpose, to defeat Germany.
The population of Britain were anxious but relieved when the ‘People’s War’ erupted in the twentieth century. The Second World War began for Britain on September third 1939 when Prime Minister Chamberlain confirmed at 11.15am “this country is at war with Germany”. The movement of people around and from Britain as well as a national character being formed created the idea of a ‘People’s War’. To identify if Britain was in a ‘People’s War’ and to what extent it stretched a definition must be understood. A ‘People’s War’ according to the Oxford English Dictionary is defined as a “war in which the common people are regarded as fighting against the ruling clas...

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...ol, J. ‘The Evacuation of School Children’, in H. Smith, ed., War and Social Change: British society in the Second World War (Manchester, 1986), pp. 3-31.
Overly, R. Battle of Britain, Myth and Reality (New York, 2000).
Smith. H. ‘The Effect of the War on the Status of Women’, in H. Smith, ed., War and Social Change: British society in the Second World War (Manchester, 1986), pp. 208-229.
Summerfield, P. ‘The ‘Levelling of Class’’, in H. Smith, ed., War and Social Change: British society in the Second World War (Manchester, 1986), pp. 179-207.
Winter, J. ‘The Demographic Consequences of the War’ in H. Smith, ed., War and Social Change: British society in the Second World War (Manchester, 1986), pp. 151-178.
Yelton, D. ‘British Public Opinion, the Home Guard and the Defence of Great Britain, 1940-1944’, The Journal of Military History, 58 (1994) pp. 461-480.

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