20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II

20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II

Jacob Miller - July 1, 2017

The London Blitz was a series of bombing attacks on Britain carried out by the Nazi Luftwaffe during World War II. The Luftwaffe targeted towns and cities, prioritizing the decimation of London.

The Battle of Britain was a series of aerial encounters between the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Nazi Luftwaffe for control of air space over the United Kingdom. The fighting lasted from July 10 until October 31, 1940. On September 6, because the Luftwaffe had failed to gain air superiority, Adolf Hitler and Reichsmarchall Hermann Goring, commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe, ordered the implementation of a new strategy.

Starting September 7, 1940, London was systematically bombed by the Luftwaffe for 56 out of the next 57 consecutive days and nights. On September 15, during a large daylight attack, many Nazi aircraft were shot down. Afterward, the Luftwaffe gradually switched to night attacks, and the Blitz became an exclusively nocturnal operation.

During the Blitz, the Nazis targeted the western Liverpool seaport and the northern Hull port. Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Glasgow, Manchester, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Sheffield, Southampton, and Swansea were also attacked.

By May 1941, as the Nazis prepared for Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, the attack came to an end without crushing the British spirit. The bombings were unsuccessful in slowing war production which continued to increase. The Blitz failed because the Oberkommando de Luftwaffe, the Luftwaffe High Command, did not develop a strategy for destroying the British war industry. The bombing efforts were diluted because of attacks on many kinds of industry rather than a focus on the most vital.

More than 40,000 civilians were killed during The Blitz, half of which occurred in London.

20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
The government planned the evacuation of four million people—mostly women and children—from urban areas, including 1.4 million from London. Daily Mail
20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
A group of evacuees from Bristol arrive at Brent railway station near Kingsbridge in Devon, 1940. The British Government expected about 90 percent of evacuees to stay in private homes. iwm.org
20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
We must expect that, under the pressure of continuous attack upon London, at least three or four million people would be driven out into the open country around the metropolis- Churchill. School children making their way to evacuation buses. BBC
20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
London- East End children evacuating at the start of the Second World War. Pinterest
20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
Children preparing for evacuation with their gas masks. newmanlocalhistory
20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
11 Nov 1940, Londonn. As raiding German Airmen drone overhead these children sleep in hammocks slung between the rails of the underground railway between Aldwych and Holborn, which has been taken out of service to provide safe shelter for Londoners during air raids. Bettmann/CORBIS
20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
Children in an English bomb shelter, England. Pinterest
20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
These children are pictured emerging from an air raid shelter on November 10, 1939, having successfully completed an air raid exercise. Vintage Everyday
20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
Homeless and orphaned children settle down to sleep in the air raid shelter at John Keble Church Mill Hill London. The British government estimated after the First World War that 50 casualties would result for every ton of bombs dropped on London. They estimated that an attack of 60 days would result in 600,000 dead and 1,200,000 wounded. Wikimedia
20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
Schoolchildren learned how to operate gas masks and were schooled huddled together in underground air raid shelters. Vintage Everyday

20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
Young school children in gas masks. Histclo
20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
Underground officials were ordered to lock station entrances during raids but by the second week of heavy bombing, the government relented and ordered the stations to be opened. Historic Clothing
20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
Children in the underground receiving medication. In mid-September 1940, about 150,000 people a night slept in the Underground, although by the winter and spring months the numbers had declined to 100,000 or less. Noises of battle were muffled and sleep was easier in the deepest stations but many people were killed from direct hits on stations. Mashable
20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
People would begin lining up to get into the shelters at 4:00 PM. Tickets were issued for bunks in large shelters, to reduce the amount of time spent queuing. Mashable
20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
A young girls sleeps under Christmas decorations and stockings stuffed with treats in 1940. Santa Claus has visited this British home, but World War II means Christmas must be celebrated in a bomb shelter. Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS
20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
Committees quickly formed within shelters as informal governments and organizations such as the British Red Cross and the Salvation Army worked to improve conditions. Entertainment included concerts, films, plays and books from local libraries. Pinterest
20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
A little girl holding her doll in the rubble of her bomb damaged home. Getty Images
20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
Children playing with Gas Masks. Tumbler
20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II
Child with his stuffed animal in the wreckage. Pinterest

 

Sources For Further Reading:

History Collection – This Day in History: Hitler Orders the Blitz To Begin (1940)

Encyclopedia Britannica – The Blitz

History Collection – 19 Interesting Things You May Not Know About Great Britain during the Crushing Blitz of 1940-1941

History Extra – The Cruel Cost of The Blitz: How Did Everyday Britons Rebuild Their Lives?

The Guardian – Blitzed, Rebuilt and Built Again: What Became Of London’s Bomb Sites?

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