The People's War: Britain 1939-1945

The People's War: Britain 1939-1945

Angus Calder

Language: English

Pages: 658


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Second World War was, for Britain, a 'total war'; no section of society remained untouched by military conscription, air raids, the shipping crisis and the war economy.

In this comprehensive and engrossing narrative Angus Calder presents not only the great events and leading figures but also the oddities and banalities of daily life on the Home Front, and in particular the parts played by ordinary people: air raid wardens and Home Guards, factory workers and farmers, housewives and pacifists. Above all this revisionist and important work reveals how, in those six years, the British people came closer to discarding their social conventions than at any time since Cromwell's republic.

Winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys prize in 1970, The People’s War draws on oral testimony and a mass of neglected social documentation to question the popularised image of national unity in the fight for victory.

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Conservatives. Now there were Bevanites too. It seemed that the two, or three, party system had long been breaking down, and that the war had administered the coup de grâce. ‘Where, anywhere in the country,’ asked the Economist in April 1942, ‘can there be found any body of men or women who sincerely and passionately believe that salvation lies through the Conservative, Labour or Liberal Parties – except, of course, among those who have some vested interest in the various machines?’ Mass.

Of Kin was made to discourage ‘careless talk’ and Launder and Gilliat’s Millions Like Us praised and inspired the effort of ‘mobile women’ working in munitions. The most famous example of the new realism was In Which We Serve, which, when it appeared in 1942, was probably given more fulsome critical praise than any British film before or since. It was made, as a somewhat daring venture, under Rank auspices, with its scriptwriter Noël Coward cast ‘out of type’ as a naval captain and with a list.

Viewpoint from Marcel Jullian, The Battle of Britain (1967), and Drew Middleton’s The Sky Suspended (1960), by an eye-witnessing American journalist. The best-known account from the German side is Adolf Galland’s The First and the Last (1955). CHAPTER 4: BLITZ The official story of the blitz is told movingly in R. M. Titmuss’s Problems of Social Policy (1950),* which concentrates on the post-raid services; more drily in T. H. O’Brien’s Civil Defence (1955),* which covers A.R.P., the Fire.

Bevin, 273; aim to replace Churchill, 275, 299; and second front, 298, 299; and 1945 election, 576–7, 579 ‘Beaverbugs’, 124 ‘Beavereels’, 124 ‘Beaverettes’, 124 beer, 276, 366 Belfast, 209, 211, 213, 308, 413 Belfrage, Bruce, 359 Belgian refugees, 129, 132 Belgium, 84, 105, 106–7, 564 Belisha Beacons, 74 Bell, George, Bishop of Chichester, 138, 484, 487, 491–4, 500, 586 Belsen, 413, 565–6 Benghazi, 265 Benn, Sir Ernest, 294–5, 499 Benney, Mark, 175, 335, 439, 443, 448 Benny, Jack,.

Westbrook, Trevor, 147 Westminster Abbey, 214 Westmorland, 39, 229 Weybridge, 445 Weygand, General, 110 ‘Whale’ project, 557 Wharf Mills (Lancs.), 131 Where Do We Go From Here? (Laski), 512–13 White, Charles, 553–4, 582 ‘White Cliffs of Dover, The’ (song), 371 white feathers, 269 Whitechapel, 164 Whitley bomber, 451–2, 455 Whitley’s works committees, 397 Whittle, Frank, 444, 460, 584 Wigan, 27 Wilhelmina, Queen of Holland, 85 Wilkins, A. F., 459 Wilkinson, Ellen, 199, 291.

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