UK Belligerence in World War Two

An in depth study taken through photographs

Introduction

As a power in the theater of the Second World War, the United Kingdom (UK) was vital in its entering of the war on December 3rd, 1939. The reason that this was such a big deal was not only because Britain was a world power but because of its extensive grip on colonies around the world; it posed an enormous threat to Hitler in that he wouldn't be able to fully conquer Britain until he took most of the eastern hemisphere. Furthermore, the British declaration of war against Germany essentially put them at war on multiple fronts. Unfortunately, problems with inter-coordination between the different colonies and protectorates enabled other Axis Powers to establish dominion over the British territories and thus mitigated this initial threat. In the case of the home-front, the British made it fairly clear to the people that its goal was to prevent any further expansion of the Third Reich, as it created the Ministry of Information (MoI) to create posters that could illustrate the goals of the United Kingdom and persuade people to save war-relevant materials, conscript (formally or informally) soldiers into the army, get women to work in the factories, or give reason for the rationing that had to happen.
Big image
nla.pic-an23217367

The Rt. Hon. R.G. Menzies P.M. of Australia broadcasting to the nation the news of the outbreak of war, 1939 [picture].
1939. 1 photograph : gelatin silver ; 20.1 x 15 cm. on mount 30.5 x 22.5 cm. in folder 31 x 23.5 cm.

The Australian Prime minister, Robert Menzies, broadcasting the outbreak of war to Australia

*Note that Australia is under British dominion at this time.


The photograph displays how the beginning of war in most of the "far away" countries was not even known of until it was declared. The photograph also shows the lack of communicative unification shared by the UK and its dominions, which will eventually lead to the fracturing of the British empire overall.

Big image
"The Picture Post Historical Archive, 1938-1957". Gale Digital Collections.

Two children work to wring out clothes

This picture shows how the entirety of the British people were working -including the children. Both the girl and the boy are dressed, however, in middle to upper-class clothing. These children are most likely doing this job, which would typically be the job of the women, because the women have taken the mens' jobs in the factories so children have to take the remaining jobs.
Big image
Vintage War Poster from Onslows - Women of Britain from World War 2.

A Poster urging Women to help in the Factories

With the sharp decline of fit-to-work men available in the UK, women had to occupy the roles of the industrial workers in society. The poster itself depicts a women that is happy to have produces the material for an armada of planes. The main point that this poster is trying to say is that through producing the materials to which the soldiers can use, the Women aid in the war effort just as much as any man does.
Big image

""Serve in the WAAF" Recruitment Poster." British WWII Posters. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.


A British recruitment poster to get women to join the WAAF (Women's Auxiliary Air Force)

As the war came to its end, and British forces began to run increasingly thin, the British had to recruit women into the army. This is huge considering the immense patriarchy of society in the late 1930's, which is why the Women's Auxiliary Air Force was created as a subsection of the Royal Air Force, which the men were in. The poster also states that the women will get the opportunity to "Serve... with the men who fly", which shows the British tactic of persuasion is to give the women an opportunity to aid the men in battle.
Big image

"Poster Warning about Careless Talk." British WWII Poster. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.


A political cartoon admonishes defeatism/disclosure of war plans/supporting the enemy

The meaning of this poster is very significant because it implies multiple things. Firstly, it recognizes the fact that there could be a German spy among the British, depicted through Hitler and Goering (German Nazi Leader) sitting behind the two women. The cartoon essentially forbids any "gossip" concerning war. Secondly. The cartoon says that this "saves lives" meaning that if the wrong information were to slip into the Germans' hands, they would show no mercy in their attempts to fully punish the British for the disclosure of such information. Lastly, the two people sitting on the bus are two middle-aged, middle-class women, showing the people who were most likely to talk about things about the war as they were all on a train together to and from the factories or wherever they work.
Big image

"Home Sweet Home Front - WEBSITE." Home Sweet Home Front - WEBSITE. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.


A British family lives in a bomb-resistant house (Picture taken after WWII)

As the war progressed, and certainly with the progression of the Luftwaffe and the constant bombings of the UK, almost every household would have a gas mask for each family member, a bomb shelter, excess amounts of preservable food, and like is shown in this picture, fortified houses. Since this picture was taken after the war, the value of the family inside does not truly represent a "family" during the war, but the structure of the house has a lot to offer in terms of civilian defensive efforts on the homefront in the UK
Big image


"Home Sweet Home Front - WEBSITE." Home Sweet Home Front - WEBSITE. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

A British worker arranges the blackout times for the day

Blackouts were a very big part of the war on the British homefront. As more and more German bombings started to occur, the British started to turn off the lights at night so the bombers couldn't see where to bomb. This was, of course, very problematic for the people living in Britain because they typically had to work long hours without any light, and on top of that finding ones way home was extremely hard.
Big image
"Home Sweet Home Front - WEBSITE." Home Sweet Home Front - WEBSITE. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.
During the blackouts, civilians often ran into trouble that they could then relay onto the government through their deaths that would eventually mitigate overall productivity of the UK during the blackout- something that Britain could not afford. To counter this, Britain released many forms of propaganda advertising safety in the blackouts as we see in this picture. The key thing to note in this picture, however, seems to be the tone in which the poster makes the blackouts seem inherent. The poster refers to the blackouts to be as predictable and unchangeable as sunrise and sunset, diminishing people's resistance to the concept as a whole and getting the homefront to accept the new life.
Big image
"Home Sweet Home Front - WEBSITE." Home Sweet Home Front - WEBSITE. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

A poster urging British civilians to eat more carrots in order to see in the blackouts

The belief that eating carrot's will better one's eyesight originated in the Royal Air Force so the pilots could see in the dark. This same belief also carried over to the citizens of the UK during blackouts. Even though carrots do minimally aid one's eyesight, however, the reason that they were advertised like this was because during war time the UK was short on a lot of different materials (It is an island) but they were abundant with carrots, so to abate the monotony of the taste the UK really emphasized the fact that they would practically help one in the blackouts or the night sky.
Big image
"Home Sweet Home Front - WEBSITE." Home Sweet Home Front - WEBSITE. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

A poster creates a motto that persuades citizens to create farms in their property

Knowing the struggles of war, and looking at the more "total" nature that WWII would bring, the UK established this motto of "Dig for Victory" aiming to expand the primary sector to the people. This effort worked very well because every family had cultivated their own food, so should the government fail to effectively ration the remaining food, the families could not only blame the government.
Big image
"Home Sweet Home Front - WEBSITE." Home Sweet Home Front - WEBSITE. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

A typical weekly ration in the UK 1943

Even with residential primary sectors, as the war progressed further and further, there became far less food available. The rationing made life on the homefront very hard to get through and actually created the necessity of re-enforcement of what the British are fighting for. After the drafts to the army, the shifting of the labour-class, and then the dissolution of the working class into the military there was little food left to supply to the homefront, and little homefront left to provide the food. The problem worsens with the lack of communication with the UK's dominions.
Big image

"Keep Calm and Carry On Official Store Create & Design Your Own Products!" Keep Calm and Carry On Official Store Create & Design Your Own Products! Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

A motto used to keep British spirits high towards the end of the war

The motto "Keep Calm and Carry on" holds plenty of significance towards the unification that stood during the multitude of German attacks during WWII. The problem here was that as the war got pulled out longer and longer, the British troops, and thus the homefront, became more and more thinned out, meaning there was the ever encroaching idealisms of defeatism, which would harm productivity. The motto keep calm and carry on was very effective in getting the British population to persevere.
Big image

Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

A poster to get people to join the A.I.F. (Second Australian Imperial Force)

External British territories had much more trouble in persuading their citizens to join the war because there was no imminent threat to that territory. What was special in Australia, however, was that their most imminent threat was Japan, in which their was propaganda that protagonized the Australians for keeping the Japanese away from them.
Big image

"WWII Propaganda Posters That Probably Wouldn't Be Used Today." RE Factor Tactical. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

Australian war propaganda emphasizes helping the British war against Germany

Australia had a very interesting experience in WWII. The continent was under constant pressure from imperial Japan but at the same time they were under political pressure as a British territory to help the UK in the war. On the German side of Australia's approach to WWII was this poster: it depicts shooting Hitler from behind with the Australian Air Force while Hitler is occupied with German ground troops in Germany. The poster saying that the swastika marks the spot emphasizes the idea to shoot all Nazis that they can find. The idea with this plan of attack is that the Australian air force will have nothing to fear because Hitler is not aiming at Australia, but if they do not attack he inevitably will, so now is the most opportune time to strike.
Big image

"The Australian Home Front during World War 2 - Everyday Life." The Australian Home Front during World War 2 - Everyday Life. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

Australian Citizens give their aluminium cooking gear to be smelted into aircraft arts

One of the downsides of the geography of Australia was that it was an island, and due to the nature of the theater of the second world war in Europe, a naval military was impractical, so the only way to go was an air force, this meant that the Australian army could not effectively supply infantry. The Australian air force ultimately ended up being heavily costly, as the troops had to fly across the world, and the homefront couldn't really be guaranteed anything in return for their donations to the war effort in Germany.
Big image

"All in - Living with War." All in - Living with War. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

Australian poster saying that Australia needs to be the British food supplier

Seeing that food in other British colonies -especially Britain itself- was beginning to be pretty scarce, the Australians went about preserving the territories through conserving their own food and then giving that saved food to the other countries. They launched multiple campaigns in order to turn public opinions towards helping the war effort in Europe. Australia had to put a huge emphasis on this because its civilians were very decentralized from the commotion in Europe, meaning Australia had to strongly assert that they were just as important to the war as any other British colony.
Big image

"Disaster at Balham Tube Station - WWII Today." WWII Today RSS. 14 Oct. 2015. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

During the Battle of Britain, Tube Stations are overwhelmed with the amount of people seeking refuge in them

In Hitler's final attack on Britain, he pushes all of the civilians from London into the underground railroad tracks (tubes). As we can see in the picture most of the people are carrying suitcases, blankets, and pillows. The belongings that they bring with them is likely what they expect to have after the bombing because they expect their homes to be obliterated. Also, the population in the tube station is predominantly women, but there are some elderly men and some children that are men.
Big image
"Disaster at Balham Tube Station - WWII Today." WWII Today RSS. 14 Oct. 2015. Web. 1 Dec. 2015.

A crane is lifting a bus out of a crater formed by a bomb

The most significant thing about this picture is that even though the city is being repaired from a massive bombing the people are still going about their business even underneath a collapsed bus. This shows the rapid need and execution of social and economic repair in Britain after the war.