From the start of war, to the German invasion of the Low Countries and France, there was a phony war, then Britain faced an enemy at the door. The author provides a fascinating account of Britain on the Home Front, from boredom, to fear of invasion, to the sense of victory to come – Very Highly Recommended
NAME: Britain 1940, The Decisive Year On The Home Front FILE: R3229 AUTHOR: Anton Rippon PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PRICE: £19.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, Home Front, rationing, black-outs, ARP, vacant jobs, increasing female workforce, shortages, Phony War, Battle of France, Battle of Britain, society, British resolve ISBN: 1-52676-770-8 PAGES: 192 IMAGE: B3229.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y6hl4ntc LINKS: DESCRIPTION: From the start of war, to the German invasion of the Low Countries and France, there was a phony war, then Britain faced an enemy at the door. The author provides a fascinating account of Britain on the Home Front, from boredom, to fear of invasion, to the sense of victory to come – Very Highly Recommended
The Second World War in Europe started with virtually no military action on land. At sea, the Royal Navy was fighting hard, protecting convoys, ports and sea lanes. An early significant victory was the destruction of the German heavy cruiser/pocket battleship Graf Spee and the lightning raid into a neutral Norwegian fjord to release British seaman from the prison ship Altmark that was hiding there. RAF bombers were hard at work, but only dropping leaflets. To the population at home it was an uneasy period. Like the old adage, the first boot was dropped on the ceiling with the declaration of war, everyone now waiting for the second boot to drop.
The situation was perhaps like the serene swan paddling like hell below the waterline. While there was a lack of land action, with naval and aviation warfare taking place beyond sight, there was still furious activity at home. Across the land, many families were digging holes in the garden and burying corrugated iron air raid shelters. Food was being hoarded and families looked for places to grow vegetables. Vehicles on the roads reduced and those travelling at night were already driving with hooded lights. Across the country, ARP Wardens were starting to look for and warn any homes that showed a light at night. In the factories, extra shifts were put on and the industrial capability was turned to war production. Much of this was not visible to the majority of the population still at home.
Suddenly the number of men at work had dropped and women were beginning to fill the places men left vacant when they joined the military to fight. Then came the hot war when Germany ignored the neutrality of the Low Countries as the Panzers sought routes into France. The fighting was brief. France was overwhelmed but the British counter attack at Arras, and the fierce fight put up by the British re-guard, gave time for French and British troops to collect at Dunkirk and for the Royal Navy to organize a miracle with the help of a multitude of vessels of all sizes, the smaller vessels often crewed by their yachtsmen owners. Some 350,000 troops were lifted off the beaches to reach sanctuary in Britain.
From that point the mood changed. The loss of the Battle of French was a real disappointment but there was relief that so many had been saved at Dunkirk. Determination was everywhere. People flocked to join the Home Guard and the ARP, to work a factory shift and then stand fire watch duty for most of the night. People pulled together but expected German invasion at any time. Churchill even set up a covert section of the Home Guard, with weapons and supply dumps in underground stores, to begin guerilla fighting as the British Resistance should the Germans land. That covert operation assisted as Churchill sought to support the growing number of Resistance groups in France and other occupied countries.
Then the Battle of Britain transformed the prospects and encouraged the population to believe that victory would come eventually. Against all the hardships and German bombing, the nation pulled together and held together. It was total war.
The author has proved a gripping account of the progress of war from the Home Front. The text is complimented with a good photo-plate selection of images.