Britain: British Society 1931-1951 - Britain At War 1939-45

Students of GCSE History will examine British society at different times in the past. One period they will look at is from 1931-1951 and one topic that will be covered is life during the Second World War.

The Second World War affected British society even more than the Great War had done a generation earlier. Civilians were dragged into the conflict whether they liked it or not. Conscription, bombing, rationing and propaganda all came in during the war and made it impossible to ignore.

Find out more about British society during the Second World War by playing this quiz.

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  1. Towards the end of the war the Germans sent flying bombs (V1s) to attack London. What nickname were they given?
    When they ran out of fuel they would plunge to the ground and explode. They made a buzzing sound until they dipped towards the ground, when they suddenly fell silent
  2. 48,000 men were directed to the coal mines and other industries by the Ministry of Labour and National Service. Named after the minister responsible, what were they called?
    These men were in an occupation which they could not leave for military service
  3. A memorial in Central London depicts the various functions that women performed during these years. Where is this memorial situated?
    This was a late tribute to the sterling work of women in the national war effort
  4. Many women and girls served on the land, thus releasing men for military service. What name was given to this group?
    A productive British agriculture industry was all the more important as less food was being imported
  5. Older volunteers were recruited to defend the UK in the event of a German invasion. Popularly known as "Dad's Army", they were also called the Home Guard. What was their full official title?
    They would have begun a guerrilla campaign against the Germans if an invasion had ever taken place. Thankfully, their skills and enthusiasm were never put to the test
  6. Children were evacuated from big cities to the countryside in order to escape the expected bombing. How many children were involved?
    Many children returned to their families when the bombing didn't occur. When air raids began in the autumn of 1940 most of them returned to the countryside
  7. To protect civilians from air raids the government issued a shelter to be installed outside, partially buried, covered with earth and named after a government minister. What were these shelters called?
    Such shelters were quite effective and reduced bombing casualties. However, they offered little protection in the event of a direct hit
  8. Air raid procedures were administered by ARP wardens. What did ARP stand for?
    Sirens wailed, the "All Clear" sounded and Londoners were escorted to and from tube stations. All of this was supervised by ARP wardens
  9. How many British civilians were killed in air raids between 1940 and 1945?
    This figure includes victims of conventional bombing, V1s and V2s
  10. During the first six months of the war very little actual fighting took place on the continent. What name was given to this period?
    This lull was not to last. In the spring of 1940 Hitler was to attack Denmark and Norway, as well as the Low Countries and France

Author: Edward Towne

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