Civilians were assigned specific shops to purchase items. There were restrictions as to buying things such as food, fuel, clothing, books, toys and cosmetics because of the limited production. This was because the Germans targeted production areas. Food was rationed therefore civilians were encouraged to grow fruits and vegetables in their wartime garden. It was usually rich in fat and carbohydrates and always homemade. There was no phones, cars or central heating to be used. The radio was essential to learn how to prepare for attacks.
Old pots and pans were donated from the civilians to make spitfires although they sometimes weren’t used, people wanted to contribute to the war effort. Gunfire and aeroplane sounds were everywhere but people adapted to the noises. Houses were destroyed, leaving many homeless. After a while, the all-clear sound was in the streets. Books, bricks, glass and debris was all over the floor. Civilians could go to ‘The People’s Palace’ because it offered food.
There was a growing sense of community and people got to know their neighbors better.
Many people built their own shelters, usually in the cellar. For people with low wages, the Anderson shelter was free. Civilians wore nametags with their address on them. Air raid precautions were taken which were tryout blackouts to check air-raid regulations. Rabbit food was cheap so it was encouraged to breed them to eat. The bombing on cities was anticipated on 1939. Evacuated children returned but suddenly the bombs dropped in 1940 and many died. Many families were separated for safety purposes.
People were scared of gas attacks.
It was compulsory to carry a gasmask because the gas would cause death. The smell of rubber and disinfectant made people sick. Instruction leaflets were distributed incase of a gas attack. It was an offense not to wear a gas mask. Children’s gas masks had pictures so they wouldn’t be scared. If the adult died, the baby died too. The government told civilians not to use light at night (blackout) for protection from air-raid bunkers from attacking. People bought thick dark curtains or stuck brown paper over their windows.
Some factory windows were painted black so people could still have lights on. Street furniture and farm animals were painted with white stripes to help people see in blackouts. There was an increase in accidental hazards. Sirens/Moaning Minnies went off when a bombing raid began. 400,000 Anderson air-raid shelters were built with curved roofs for protection. A Morrison shelter was a steel cage under the dining table. Undergrounds were also used as shelters. People with no shelters moved with friends.
In 1940, no bombs were dropped, misleading people to think the Germans were bluffing but they attacked suddenly in April 1949. Vulnerable people in likely bombed areas were evacuated, mixing the social classes. Parents were pressurized to send their children away because the government feared that child casualties would decrease morale. Children were labeled to their destination. Evacuations began on 1st September 1939 and over one million evacuees left London by train. A total of 1,250,000 people were evacuated.
Evacuation areas, Neutral areas and reception areas were formed. Transport was used to send vulnerable people to these areas. Children under five followed their mothers. Some children were enthusiastic and some were distressed. Social effects were most felt because their entire daily routine was drastically changed. People lived in fear and they had to take many safety precautions. Families were split up and children were evacuated. The social effects of the blitz could have changed people’s morale but the government used many cunning ways to keep spirits high.
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