The British War Economy (HMSO Official History of WWII Civil)

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Senior Fellow, Hillsdale College Churchill Project, Writer and Historian

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Campaigns , edited by S. Administration , Jack L. Coulter, Volume II: Operations , Jack L. Crew, Campaigns Volume I: Crew, Volume II: Crew, Volume III: Sicily, Italy, Greece —45 , Francis A. Crew, Volume IV: North-West Europe , Francis A. Crew, Volume V: Burma , Francis A. MacNalty, Volume II: MacNalty, Medical Services at War: MacNalty, Cope, Sir Zachary, ed. Cope, Sir Zachary, ed. Medical Research, edited by F. Franklin, Medical Research , edited by F.

They received extraordinary priority. Covering the supply of materials and equipment and even made it possible to divert from other types the necessary parts, equipment, materials and manufacturing resources. Labour was moved from other aircraft work to factories engaged on the specified types. Cost was not an object.

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The delivery of new fighters rose from in April to in September —more than enough to cover the losses—and Fighter Command emerged triumphantly from the Battle of Britain in October with more aircraft than it had possessed at the beginning. They were helped by prisoners of war from Italy and Germany. The Women's Land Army brought in tens of thousands of young women from urban areas for paid labour on farms that needed them, at about 30 shillings a week.

One new specialty was harvesting timber, for which the government set up the Women's Timber Corps , a branch of the Women's Land Army that operated For townspeople and even city folk, the government promoted Victory Gardens that grew vegetables, fruits and herbs. Participants were not randomly digging; they were promoting self-sufficiency, imposing control over the domestic sphere, and exhibiting patriotism in working for the common good of winning the war.

There were sharply different gender roles, and class experiences-- gardening had been a favourite elite hobby and the upper class women helping out knew what they were doing. The much touted statistics of additional food production were designed to foster general confidence in the progress of the war, not just the progress of plants. Rationing was designed to provide minimum standards of essential consumption for all members of society, to reduce waste, reduce trans-Atlantic shipping usage, and make possible the production of more war supplies with less variety.

The theme of equality of sacrifice was paramount. The UK also imported more than half of its meat, and relied on imported feed to support its domestic meat production. The civilian population of the country was about 50 million. To deal with sometimes extreme shortages, the Ministry of Food instituted a system of rationing. To buy most rationed items, each person had to register at chosen shops, and was provided with a ration book containing coupons that were only good at that shop.

The shopkeeper was provided with enough food for registered customers. Purchasers had to take ration books with them when shopping, so that the relevant coupon or coupons could be cancelled. The outbreak of the world war in temporarily arrested the ongoing decline in heavy industry, with the city's shipyards and heavy industries working, To slow it down the Luftwaffe bombed of Clydeside.

The worst was the Clydebank Blitz in March that left tens of thousands of Glaswegians homeless and destruction of housing caused by the war would leave a lasting legacy for the city decades later. Wales had been hard hit by deindustrialisation and high unemployment in the s and s. The war turned the economy around. The historic basic industries of coal and steel saw a very heavy new demand. The best coal seams had long been depleted.

It was more and more expensive to get to the remaining coal, but coal was urgently needed, and shipping it in from North America would overburden the limited supply system. Belfast is a representative British city that has been well studied by historians. The unemployment that had been so persistent in the s disappeared, and labour shortages appeared.


There was a major munitions strike in When Germany conquered France in Spring it gained closer airfields. The city's fire brigade was inadequate; there were no public air raid shelters as the Northern Ireland government was reluctant to spend money on them; and there were no searchlights in the city, which made shooting down enemy bombers all the more difficult. After seeing the Blitz in London in the autumn of , the government began to build air raid shelters. In early , the Luftwaffe flew reconnaissance missions that identified the docks and industrial areas to be targeted.

Especially hard hit were the working class areas in the north and east of the city, where over were killed and hundreds were seriously injured.

The British Official History of the Second World War – The General Staff Archives

Many people left the city in fear of future attacks. The bombing revealed the terrible slum conditions. In May , the Luftwaffe hit the docks and the Harland and Wolff shipyard, closing it for six months. Apart from the numbers of dead, the Belfast blitz saw half of the city's houses destroyed. The bombing raids continued until the invasion of Russia in summer The American army arrived in —44, setting up bases around Northern Ireland, and spending freely.

Figures produced by the Ministry of Home Security give a total of 60, civilians killed and 86, seriously wounded, directly due to enemy action. Of these, 51, were killed by bombing, 8, by V-1 flying bombs or V-2 rockets , and by artillery bombardment. These figures do not include 1, killed while on duty with the Home Guard, or 32, civilian merchant seamen lost at sea.

Public opinion in the s was horrified at this prospect of massive bombing of major cities. The government planned to evacuate schoolchildren and others to towns and rural areas where they would be safe. Operation Pied Piper began on 1 September , and relocated more than 3. The average evacuee traveled about 40 miles, but some traveled longer distances.

There was no bombing in , so they soon returned home. After a German invasion was possible and the Blitz began in September , there was a second major wave of evacuation in June from targeted cities. There were also small-scale evacuations of children to Canada. Many families relocated to safer areas on their own. The host families worked well with most children, however there was a minority from poor, undernourished, unhygienic and uncooperative environments who brought along a strong distrust of authority.

The confrontation was an eye-opener to both sides, and played a role in convincing the British middle-class to support expanded welfare programs. For the first time it became clear that middle class and rich people needed help too - they were bombed out of their homes and schools as well. Sociologist Richard Titmuss argues, "Reports in about the condition of evacuated mothers and children aroused the conscience of the nation in the opening phase of the war. Learn more about Amazon Prime. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime.

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The British War Economy (HMSO Official History of WWII Civil) The British War Economy (HMSO Official History of WWII Civil)
The British War Economy (HMSO Official History of WWII Civil) The British War Economy (HMSO Official History of WWII Civil)
The British War Economy (HMSO Official History of WWII Civil) The British War Economy (HMSO Official History of WWII Civil)
The British War Economy (HMSO Official History of WWII Civil) The British War Economy (HMSO Official History of WWII Civil)
The British War Economy (HMSO Official History of WWII Civil) The British War Economy (HMSO Official History of WWII Civil)

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