Uncover Britain's Home Front During WWII
Gain insight into the social, economic, political and cultural affairs of Britain throughout the Second World War. Sourced from The National Archives U.K. and The History of Advertising Trust, this digital primary source collection provides a full picture of the impact of modern warfare on civilian life. Explore a wide range of documents from social surveys to food offences trials, from Propaganda film scripts to wartime advertising.
10 May 1940
Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister
This transcript of the production of the wartime government film 'Atlantic Charter', which was released in 1941 by the Ministry of Information and the Crown Film Unit, focuses on one of the first meeting's between the newly appointed Winston Churchill, and the US President.
26 May – 4 June 1940
Evacuation of Dunkirk
This file is a transcript from the documentary film 'Total War', released in 1945 by the Ministry of Information. The transcript talks of how "The miracle of the little ships had snatched our armies from the beaches of Dunkirk."
The Battle of Britain
A file relating to the production of the wartime government film The Day that Saved the World, released in 1942 by the Ministry of Information and the Crown Film Unit. The film addresses the role of the Battle of Britain in securing allies, and subsequent military and political developments that united Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, and China.
7 September 1940
A file relating to a report on the morale and living conditions in Coventry, Bristol, Southampton, Cheltenham, Liverpool, and Manchester, after they had suffered from air raids. Documents contained in the file include a copy of the findings of the report; and official correspondence criticising both the report and its circulation. Topics covered by the report include the effects of air raids on these towns; the opinion of the public on air raids and air-raid precautions; attitudes towards central government and local authorities; the adequacy of air-raid shelters; and the spread of rumours.
8 May 1945
A newspaper clipping titled 'Food Supplies for VE-Days". The article, taken from the Ministry of Food, provides suggestions to food traders and housewives, so that the public will be able to obtain their essential minimum food supplies.
Introduction of the Family Allowances Act
A War Cabinet file detailing service pay and allowances. This specific page from the file states the allowances payable to families in the Chanel Islands, explaining that families situated in enemy, enemy-occupied, and other countries outside the sterling area, are not admissible to any allowances because the officer is owing to their occupation by the enemy.
30 December 1945
The banana returns to Britain
In the same year the banana returned to Britain, this article, published in 'Food Facts', Week 3, July 22nd to August 18th, issued by the Ministry of Food, includes fat-saving recipes and suggestions. Recipes include; fat-saving pastry, cooking fish without fat, scones without fat and steamed marmalade pudding. This article would have proved useful to families upon it's publication, given that, due to world shortages, having enough fat for cooking and baking would have been a problem for most households.
31 December 1945
Disbandment of the home guard
The Foreword taken from a book entitled The Story of "A" Sector Warwickshire Home Guard, recounting the activities of the 2nd and 7th Warwickshire Home Guard battalions throughout the war. Articles in the book include the history of the Home Guard units; stories and memoirs by members of the units; a diary of the main events of the war; and notes on the weapons issued to the Home Guard. Illustrative photographs and cartoons are also included.
Watch this video to discover what lies within War, State and Society:
This resource will allow students to delve into the material and draw their own conclusions, rather than relying on partial view or the interpretation of others. The sheer volume of material available here deserves recognition: this is not a partial nor selective view, but rather a comprehensive catalogue of various aspects of British Society during the Second World War.
David Clampin, Liverpool John Moores University.