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This paper argues that accounts of the Blitz in London during World War II have been largely exaggerated and distorted in both memory and scholarly accounts. According to the paper, the Blitz experience was by no means of a universal nature, and for many differs substantially from their actual wartime experiences. The paper confronts several popular myths about the Blitz, particularly that the British population pulled together despite socioeconomic backgrounds. It then describes the difficulties of mass evacuations to the countryside for many British citizens. Next, the paper explores stories of heroism that have been exaggerated and also those of high-morale during the Blitz. The paper concludes by citing the dangers of looking at historical events through an idealized lens.
From the Paper:"While it is not difficult to empathize with sentiments of laying aside personal interests for the common good, adhering to any such account of the Blitz which speaks of a homogenously unified society is problematic in that it is sensationalised speculation, rather than historical fact. In reality, Britain was still bitterly divided, and perhaps no more vividly since the 1926 general strike. While Ritchie spoke of 'well-off travellers' enduring the same plight as those harboured in underground shelters, those of wealth actually residing in London did not endure the same hardships. Ray Challinor notes that many of the wealthy simply left the country, and as to those who remained behind, they by no means shared the same experience. He reiterates an account of an American journalist of the period, who writing in his diary describes finding 3,000 people of lower class origin in a single shelter with only 8 improvised toilets between them, though upon later travelling to the Dorchester hotel, he stumbled across a luxury cellar housing only 9 peers per night. It was not an isolated incident, either; Knell remarks that while those of wealth were capable of purchasing their own private shelters, it was far less likely that they were even to be bombed, unlike their industrial-labouring counterparts."
Sample of Sources Used:
- BBC News, 'On this Day 1950-2005: 7 September', BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/september/7/newsid_3515000/3515708.stm 21st January 2010)
- Churchill, Winston (1940). 'War of the Unknown Warriors', The Churchill Centre and Museum at the Cabinet War Rooms, London (http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/speeches/speeches-of-winston-churchill/126-war-of-the-unknown-warriors 13th January 2010)
- Churchill, Winston (1940). 'Finest Hour', The Churchill Centre and Museum at the Cabinet War Rooms, London (http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/speeches/speeches-of-winston-churchill/1940-finest-hour 13th January 2010)
- Hiley, Frank. 'The story of a dark night: A Bombed Munitions Factory in Birmingham', BBC Home (http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/32/a2116432.shtml 21st January 2010)
- Imperial War Museum, 'The Warehouse Shelter in Commercial Road, East End', Imperial War Museum (http://collections.iwm.org.uk/server/show/conMediaFile.38975 21st January 2010)
Cite this Research Paper:
The Myth of the Blitz (2012, June 05) Retrieved January 21, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/research-paper/the-myth-of-the-blitz-151356/
"The Myth of the Blitz" 05 June 2012. Web. 21 January. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/research-paper/the-myth-of-the-blitz-151356/>