Primary Homework Help

Britain Since the 1930s

by Mandy Barrow
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Phoney War

What was the Phoney War and why is it called the Phoney War?

The first six months of the war became known as the ‘Phoney War’ because there was almost no fighting and no bombs were dropped.

This gave the government more time to protect Britain from an attack.

Protections included:

  • Barrage balloons were deployed to force the Luftwaffe to fly higher, if and when they attacked.
  • Pillar boxes were painted with yellow gas-sensitive paint.
  • 400 million sandbags were piled round the entrances to shops and public buildings.
  • 38 million gas-masks were handed out.

How Long did the Phoney War Last?

The Phoney War took place from September 1939 to April 1940.

What happened next?

By Spring 1940, many people had decided that war was never going to happen. They stopped carrying their gas-masks and some evacuees returned home .......

... until, suddenly, on 9 April 1940, Nazi forces attacked Denmark and Norway.

The Battle of Britain followed a few months later.

Interesting Fact

In France, the Phoney war was known as the drôle de guerre (funny war) and in Germany as Sitzkrieg (armchair war).

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