Was the Blitz spirit a myth or reality ?

Report
“Their finest hour”
Was the Blitz spirit a
myth or reality for
the people of wartorn Britain?
Can you give this photograph a caption ?
"Everything was blown to pieces, you could see it all by the
red glow reflecting from the fires that were still raging. I
looked out the back and saw that where my father's shed had
been was just a pile of rubble. Then I saw two bodies, two
heads sticking up. I recognised one in particular: it was a
Chinese neighbour, Mr Say. He had one eye closed and I
realised he was dead. I just convulsed, I was shaking all over. I
thought, well, I must be dead because they were, so I struck a
match and tried to burn my finger. I kept doing it to see if I
was still alive. I could see, but I thought, I cannot be alive. This
is the end of the world."
Len Jones recalls emerging from an air raid shelter in east London after the
first night of the Blitz (from The Blitz: The British Under Attack)
What made the people of Britain carry on in spite of
these horrors?
What was the Blitz spirit ?
British Stoicism and determination in a difficult or
dangerous situation, especially as displayed by a
group of people:
A reason Londoners retained
hope in winning the war was
because St. Paul’s Cathedral
was never destroyed. It was
damaged when a bomb
smashed through it, but it
never showed damage on the
outside. One London citizen,
Tom Stothard, said, “I think if
St. Paul’s had shown damage,
the heart would have gone out
of Londoners. But there it was,
hope.” The reason people saw
hope in St. Paul’s is because
they saw a spiritual landmark
amid great devastation. It was
a symbol of survival amid the
devastation of the rest of
Europe.
St. Paul’s was a
symbol of survival
Churchill’s Speeches
Winston Churchill rallied the
people’s spirits and efforts. He
inspired the people on to their
own heroic efforts and “Their
finest hour” by his speeches.
Churchill’s expertise at writing
speeches brought the British
people together for a common
cause. Churchill was the
embodiment of the British
people’s determination to stay
alive and not to give up.
“WE SHALL NEVER
SURRENDER”
Propaganda - The government used its control over all forms of the
media to present a picture of life going on as normal despite the
constant nightly attacks.
The people themselves by volunteering for
work helped keep spirits up during the Blitz
Reserved
Occupations
Rationing
Home Guard
Weapons
Factories
Air Raid Wardens
Evacuation
Women
joined
armed
forces
dothe
you
In pairs, Where
summarise
twostand?
interpretations of
historians
(and can youthese
justify
your position…?)
“There was
endurance in
the face of an
external
danger. People
were going
through it
together.”
Juliet Gardiner
“crime rates
almost
doubled as
looting, black
marketeering
and armed
robbery
spiralled out
of control!”
Angus Calder
But was this ‘Blitz spirit’ merely the
creation of government propaganda?
http://ww2history.com/videos/Western/The_Blitz (7 mins)
“How for do the sources support the view
that “The Spirit of the Blitz” was a reality?
• In examining the sources, you need to
consider :
– The message of the source
– Does it support the view that the Spirit of the Blitz
was a reality?
– When was it written? Who was it written by? Is it
reliable?
Structure
• Introduction:
– What was the Blitz?
– What was the Spirit of the Blitz? Did it exist ?
– Explain that the sources show both sides.
• Sources that support the view that the Spirit of the Blitz existed.
Explain why each source supports the statement. Compare the
sources with each other.
• Sources that do not support the view that the Spirit of the Blitz
existed. Explain why each source supports the statement. Compare
the sources with each other.
• Conclusion: To what extent do the sources support the view that
the Spirit of the Blitz existed?
• You should aim to use 6 sources (3 positive and 3 negative)

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