Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Blitz Spirit

"Blitz Spirit" is often referred to when considering the need to pull together during a difficult situation, but did it really exist? This BBC article considers how the population coped with the German bombing campaign in 1940/41, noting that while the effects of the Blitz in London and Coventry was well known, others areas felt that their troubles were being ignored. Hull for example suffered 85% damage but was usually referred to in the press as a "North East town". Furthermore, as the working classes often lived closer to their place of work, such as factories and docks, their housing was much more likely to be affected by bombing. Whatever the reality, the perception of how British people coped is now widely evoked by politicians and media alike. There is also an interesting comparison with German attitudes to their own bombing, where the massive scale of death and destruction makes it impossible to look back with any sense of nostalgia. This is worth remembering when reading articles whipping up a frenzy about supposed German criticisms of the new Bomber Command statue that will soon be unveiled in London.

PS: Here is an article by Correlli Barnet on the subject, and a blogger's response.

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