In the Second World War the British government tried to hide the effects of the Blitz due to the fact they wanted to keep British peoples morale up, which stopped Hitler’s main aim of the Blitz; to lower British people’s morale until they gave up and beg the Nazis for an agreement. Also if they hid the effects of the blitz the Nazis would be unable to use the destruction and devastation in a propaganda campaign. The government hid the effects in two ways, firstly censorship.
The government set up the Ministry of Information which controlled censorship, the ministry of information’s role was to suppress news and views which should not be known, release or invents news which should be known and give writers special facilities to report what was happening. All of this therefore helped hide the effect of the blitz for the British public. The ministry of information had a scrutiny division which aimed to read everything published in Britain, they would cut, hold up or ban some articles altogether, but they could also rewrite articles.
If a news paper did not stick to these guide line, the government had the power to shut them down. The ministry of information also forced the BBC to pre-record programmes so nothing was said that could damage morale. The government did not take over the BBC directly because that would have gone against everything they were fighting for, so they controlled it through ministry of information whom censored thing which would damage morale. The second way in which the government hid the effects of the blitz was through concentrating on positive and therefore helping boost morale.
Many things were concentrated on, firstly cinema in which before the war 19 million people went to the cinema every week and by 1945 an extra 11 million people a week when to the cinema. Taking this into account it could be thought that in the war years the British public used the cinema as an escape from the reality of the blitz, people went to the cinema to see superstars such as Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Ingrid Bergman and Gary Cooper to admirer a there glamour. The single most popular movie was Gone with the Wind, Mrs.
Winifred Packman remembers how she emerged from the cinema “I was so moved by the film that when I came out tears were streaming down my face. An air raid warden stopped me and tried to comfort me thinking I was frightened by the raid. I tried to explain that it was only the film but I’m sure he didn’t believe me. ” This shows that film in the war took there mind off what was happening around them, another quote which backs this up was from another Londoner “I shall never forget the night the Cafi?? Anglais was hit.
All hell was let loose that night. The corner block was down. A huge fire was blazing. Twenty or 30 fire engines were tearing around the square. And there was still a long queue of people waiting to see Gone with the Wind. ” Propaganda was also a big part of film they would show Germans as fascists, and in films such as Love story (1944) in which ending delighted British audiences because it had a happy ending were one man over come personal difficult to fight for his country, this inspired British people who thought they could do the same.
Secondly they concentrated on radio due to the fact that the government knew that 60 per cent of the British population listened to BBC radio in 1939. By knowing this they were faced with a dilemma, the BBC could have released morale damaging information about the blitz, so they could have taken control of all programmes, but by doing this the government would have gone against the very freedom it was supposed to be defending. The solution was typically British the government had full power through the ministry of information but didn’t exercise it.
So it actually stays independent but was careful about what it broadcasted; concentrated on the positive thing going on in Britain. The BBC adopted a style well suited to building morale and confidence, the reporters were cool and positive which also helped reflect the view of confidence. Wartime spirit on the factory floor was maintained through Music While You Work, this help hid the effects of the blitz because it would take their minds off what was going on around them.
Also it increased production a managing director of one company wrote that “for an hour or and half after a programme, production increased by 12. 5-15%. They also concentrated on dancing it was a great release from the grind of work, they wouldn’t just dance in the night clubs of west London they would dance when ever they got the chance factory canteens, village halls and schools.
Dancing even spread to the royal opera house which shows how dancing was promoted to get more people into it and therefore boosting morale. The arrival of the Americans in 1942 also saw the arrival of jitterbugging and jiving. This later become the most popular and energetic form of dancing in Britain, this form of dancing mad e people happy, energetic and full of enthusiasm for what every they had to do weather it was working in a factory or leaving for the front line the next day.