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London during the Blitz Assignment

Before reading Source A there is a provenance about it which explains what the source will be about and what information will be included in the contents. From reading this we learn that the source is a Home Intelligence report and so it was not shown to the public and it was kept secret, this shows us that it is very reliable as the Government would not need to change it so it was positive to keep the public’s morale up. The provenance also tells us that the reports were sent in by Home Intelligence officers who had collected their information from people such as doctors, priests, shopkeepers, trade union officials and business people.

This also shows that the source is very reliable because the Home Intelligence chose people who would be in contact with many people and would be talk to them and would know what they were feeling about the war. We can also tell that it is reliable because what is being said is true and we can relate to it, in the source it says ‘Lack of sleep is beginning to tell on people in all districts, showing itself in paleness and tiredness in children and irritability in grown-ups’, we can understand from what we know that people would feel like that because that is how people act when tired.

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Source B’s provenance tells us that it is a letter written from someone who had been in London at the start of the Blitz, the letter was addressed to Mrs W C Bowman who had been evacuated to America with her children. The provenance shows us, that because the person writing the letter, probably a woman, was writing to someone she knew she might have been telling the truth. The source explains that the woman writing the letter helped people in the East End whose houses had been blown up by bombs; she gave them lifts in her car.

From this we know that she is wealthy and posh because she can drive and has a car, we also find out that she is helping people in the East End, we know that the East End was the rougher area of London and so it was very unlikely that she lived there if she was posh and wealthy. The source then goes on to tell us what she thought of the people, it says she thought that the people were marvellous because they were not talking about giving up and hardly anyone complained even though they had hardly any possessions.

This shows that, as an eye witness, all she had to go on was what she saw and so what she said was her opinion. The people who were in her car that she was giving a lift to would have been polite to her and not rude because, firstly, she was wealthy, and secondly, it was just good manners. They would have also tried to cheer each other up and keep their spirits up for one another and that was probably what she saw when they got into her car, brave people in a horrible situation.

Her view is a very public view of what happened and how she interpreted it, this source is very useful, not because it is reliable, but because it shows how people coped and their reactions to what happened during the bombing and the Blitz. In Source C’s provenance we are told that the source is from a book which was first published in 1944, it was written by Mayor of Stepney, Frank R Lewey who was Mayor between November 1939 and November 1940.

Before even reading the source we know that it has to be positive because it was first published in 1944, the war was not over then so the morale still had to be kept up as the public were the ones who were going to see it. The author explains that because Stepney was the worst hit by the bombing the King visited Stepney to inspect the damage and keep people’s morale up; because it was the King who visited Stepney, people would have wanted to look positive and show that they were coping with the war and the bombing and they would want to come across positive, and they did.

This shows us that the people being positive were really just trying to look brave for the King. Although this is also very unreliable, like Source B it is useful, it shows us what people do when they want to look brave because of people’s opinions of them and how they might come across to other’s. Source D was written by Harold Nicolson, a Government minister in the Ministry of Information in his diary on 17th September, 1940.

From this piece of information we know that he worked for the Government and that he wrote it while the bombing was still going on. In the first sentence he says ‘Everybody is worried about the feeling in the East End, where there is much bitterness,’, by ‘everybody’ he means the people in Government and when he says that there is much bitterness in the East End, there was, but they had the right to feel bitter because they had just lost their homes, all their possessions and some extremely unlucky people had lost members of their family.

In the second line he says ‘It is said that even the King and Queen were booed the other day when they visited the destroyed areas’, by using ‘it is said’ it shows that he is doubtful about this fact and does not know whether it is true or not, it may just have been a rumour. In the third sentence he says ‘… if only the Germans had the sense not to bomb west of London Bridge there might be a revolution in this country’, here he says that it is just as well, basically, that the Germans bombed in the West End or the people in the East End would feel even more bitter.

This source shows us that there was definite tension between the East and West side of London, the East Enders felt worse because not only were they being bombed but the West side had less bombings than them. “The people of East London found it difficult to cope with the conditions during the Blitz. ” I agree with this statement as I think that they found it hard to cope, Source A shows how people found it hard to cope from lack of sleep because of the raids almost every night and the unhygienic and unsanitary conditions of buildings used as shelters.

It shows us that people were frustrated with the conditions and fed up with what was happening to them and their families. Source B shows how people put on brave faces for each other and other people, this shows that some people coped by being brave for each other even when they felt very low. However this doesn’t really show us that they coped with what was happening; it just showed us that they were putting on brave faces at that time for the woman.

Source C shows the people of East London coping well to the bombing but this source is very unreliable because it was published to the public in 1944, the war was not over at that point so the public’s morale would have to be kept up, and this meant no negative information could be told to them. Source D explains that the people of East London were not coping as they were bitter because of what had happened to them, although this is understandable. This source could be reliable however because it was written in a diary and so it was private to that person and no-one but himself was supposed to see it.

Source E is quite similar to Source C in the fact that it was used to keep the morale of the public up, this shows it is unreliable; it is also similar because it tells you that the people of East London are coping. Source E is basically Propaganda which, in this case, is being used to show the East Enders as brave and patient. It says that they were waiting patiently in queues with injuries and still holding their possessions. This seems very unlikely to have happened, if you were hurt and you’re home had just been destroyed you would not be waiting patiently in a queue to be seen by someone, you would be very distraught and confused.

This may have been what he had seen but he has changed it into something that tells people they are wonderful and amazing for doing it. Source F was from an article in a magazine by a socialist, a socialist is someone who is against the Government and believes that everyone is equal; this shows that he will support the East London and might be a bit biased towards the East Londoners because they are not having the same treatment as people in the West End.

He says that the East End weren’t being provided with what they needed, such as treatment for casualties, food and water and gas or electricity. This shows what the East End were dealing with and because of this many people found it very difficult to cope with the conditions. It wasn’t just the East End who would have found it difficult to cope though, I believe the majority of people would have found it hard to live the way they did during the Blitz no matter where they came from or how often they were bombed, which includes the West End.

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