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Britain Since the 1930s

by Mandy Barrow
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What was the Home Front?
1939 - 1945

Britain was called the 'Home Front', because people felt that they were part of the war. The war effected everyone whether they were on the front line (in Europe) or on the home front (back in Britain).

Not everyone went to fight, but everyone helped in the 'war effort' in some way or other.

Find out how women help on the home front
Land Girls and other jobs

Find out about the jobs men did on the home front.
ARP Warden | Home Guard

Bombing raids destroyed homes and killed many people.
See the Blitz

How did people protect themselves during the war?

People had to take precautions against any bombs dropped during air raids and the possibility of the Germans invading Britain.

Children and some women were evacuated from the big cities into the countryside. People carried gas masks to protect themselves and built air raid shelters shelters. All windows and doors were blacked out.

Home Front timeline of main events

24th August, 1938
Parliament passes the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act.
26th September, 1938
Gas Masks issued to civilians in Britain.
29th September, 1938
Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler sign the Munich Agreement. There is hope that there won't be a war.
1st December, 1938
Britain establishes a national register for war service.
1st September, 1939 Britain begins evacuation plans in preparation of German air attacks.
3rd September, 1939
3 Sept The Prime Minister of Britain, Neville Chamberlain, declares war on Germany.
3rd September, 1939
Parliament passes the National Services (Armed Forces) Act.
7th September, 1939 The National Registration Act (1939) passed in Britain, introducing identity cards.
28th September, 1939 Meat rationing begins in Britain.
7th January, 1940 Rationing of basic food items is established in the Britain.
14th February, 1940 British government calls for volunteers to fight in Finland.
9th May, 1940 Conscription in Britain extended to age 36.
10th May, 1940
Winston Churchill becomes the new British Prime Minister, replacing Neville Chamberlain.
14th May, 1940
The Local Defence Volunteers (Dad's Army) is created. It is later called the Home Guard.
25 May, 1940 Sporadic Luftwaffe bombings in England.
10th July, 1940
The Luftwaffe (German airforce) launch the start of the Battle of Britain.
23rd August, 1940
The Luftwaffe carry out a all-night bombing raid on London and begins the Blitz.
7 September, 1940 The London Blitz starts (lasts 8 months)
12th October, 1940
Adolf Hitler postpones Operation Sealion, the proposed invasion of Britain.
18th November, 1940
Airbourbe radar successfully used by the Royal Air Force for the first time.
10th May, 1941
The Luftwaffe destroy the House of Commons in Westminster.
15th May, 1941
Frank Whittle's jet-propelled Gloster E28 takes its first flight.
1st June, 1941
The British government introduce rationing of clothes and furniture.
18th December, 1941
The National Service Act is passed introducing conscription for women.  All unmarried women aged between the ages of 20 and 30 were called up for war work. Pregnant women and those with young children were exempt.
23rd April, 1942
The Luftwaffe start bombing Exeter, Bath and other historic cities in Britain.
18th January, 1943
The Luftwaffe renews its air attacks on London.
Butler's Education Act - Free Secondary Education and school leaving age raised to 15.
13th June, 1944
First V1 Flying bomb lands on Britain.
8th September, 1944
First V2 Rocket lands on Britain.
27th March, 1945
Last V2 Rocket lands on Britain.
14 August 1945 World War Two ends
Rationing continues .....
4 July 1954 - Food rationing ends
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