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London Blitz Mini Unit Study

One of the more fascinating eras of modern history for kids is World War II. While children in North America were certainly impacted by the war, the children of London felt the direct, physical effects of living in a country at war. They were either separated from their families by evacuations from London, or if they stayed, witnessed the destruction of large parts of London - and in many cases their own homes.

Following England's declaration of war on Germany, plans were made to evacuate the children of London to the countryside to villages and towns in rural England and Wales where they would be safe from the anticipated bombardment of London. All was quiet until the summer of 1940, then Germany began a staggering air attack on Britain and, in particular, the people of London. The attack on London became known as the "Blitz", from the German word "Blitzkrieg", meaning lightning war. Homes, neighborhoods and entire communities were devastated by the heavy bombardment.

In this mini unit study you can: read articles about daily life for kids during the Blitz - including evacuations and air raids,look at photos of the bombed-out city, read eyewitness accounts of air attacks on London, play a rationing challenge game, visit a wartime home, listen to a famous Winston Churchill speech, design propaganda posters and write photo captions, and choose topics for a research project on the Blitz.


Reading

A comprehensive, graphical site dedicated to the Blitz, with sections on children and the war, air raids, shelters and daily life. Numerous short articles cover each section - text is written at a grammar school level.

Blitz site

A short overview of the Blitz, with an eyewitness account of a bombing raid over London:

Eyewitness account


Primary Sources

View poignant photos of London during the Blitz:

Blitz photos

Read Kathleen's account of being bombed out in London:

Kathleen's account


Multimedia

This fun and interactive site by the BBC is designed to engage kids in the daily life of English children during WW II. Activities include visiting a wartime home, a rationing challenge game and reading evacuees letters to their families in London.

BBC kids

Listen to Winston Churchill, prime minister of Britain in 1940, inaugurate the Battle of Britain:

Churchill speech


Activities & Discussion Questions

These activities and questions rely on the Holnet.org site above in the Reading section. After visiting the site, children can write captions for the Ministry of Information photographs in this document to try to persuade parents to send their children out of London. They then can design a poster as part of the campaign to influence parents, then answer questions on the effects of evacuation on both the children evacuated and their foster communities.


Picture caption exercise (pdf file)


For middle school ages, this Webquest can be easily turned into a research project or paper on the Blitz:

Blitz research project


Recommended Resource

On the Home Front: Growing Up in Wartime England

While historical fiction for children can provide an interesting window into the past, non-fiction accounts of children living through historic events seem to have a greater impact on kids. This month's recommended resource speaks to children through the eyes and ears of a young girl living in England during World War II. While the setting is not in London - the book illustrates many of the events surrounding the Battle of Britain.

This nonfiction book chronicles the author's memories as this young girl. She shares memories of air raids, gas masks, evacuees from London, rationing, victory gardens and POWs. Black and white photographs are included.

An excerpt from the book:

" For weeks the grownups at home and in the shops had been whispering together. I'd heard the word "war" more and more often, but if I tried to ask questions, they changed the subject. Mum and Dad only said that they did not want to worry me. They told me I was too young to understand what was happening. They always seemed so serious now. War obviously meant things would be a lot different.

On Sunday, September 3, 1939, at 11:00 A.M., Britain declared war on Nazi Germany. At 11:27 A.M. the first air raid siren wailed across London. We heard its mournful, chilling sound over the wireless, which we listened to all that day. King George spoke to the nation on the wireless. His voice was trembling. At the end of the speech, he announced, "We are at war". Hearing these words gave me a funny
feeling in my stomach. I was scared!"

Book (Paperback)
Authors: Ann Stalcup, Josephine A. Stalcup

Price: $10.95

Read more about the book on Amazon



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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