The London Blitz

Suzy Rhodes Mon, 07/27/2015 - 14:54
England
London
Highlights: 

Seventy-five years ago, Hitler ordered the German air force to carry out a series of aerial bombings across London, during an eight-month period of bloody violence which inflicted unparalleled devastation across the capital.

The London Blitz

Source: Eyewitnesshistory.com

“The appearance of German bombers in the skies over London during the afternoon of September 7, 1940 heralded a tactical shift in Hitler's attempt to subdue Great Britain. During the previous two months, the Luftwaffe had targeted RAF airfields and radar stations for destruction in preparation for the German invasion of the island. With invasion plans put on hold and eventually scrapped, Hitler turned his attention to destroying London in an attempt to demoralize the population and force the British to come to terms. At around 4:00 PM on that September day, 348 German bombers escorted by 617 fighters blasted London until 6:00 PM. Two hours later, guided by the fires set by the first assault, a second group of raiders commenced another attack that lasted until 4:30 the following morning.

The London Blitz

The London Blitz

 

The London Blitz

The London Blitz

This was the beginning of the Blitz - a period of intense bombing of London and other cities that continued until the following May. For the next consecutive 57 days, London was bombed either during the day or night. Fires consumed many portions of the city. Residents sought shelter wherever they could find it - many fleeing to the Underground stations that sheltered as many as 177,000 people during the night. In the worst single incident, 450 were killed when a bomb destroyed a school being used as an air raid shelter. Londoners and the world were introduced to a new weapon of terror and destruction in the arsenal of twentieth century warfare. The Blitz ended on May 11, 1941 when Hitler called off the raids in order to move his bombers east in preparation for Germany's invasion of Russia.”  

The London Blitz

The London Blitz

The London Blitz

The London Blitz

The London Blitz

Taking shelter in the Underground.

The London Blitz

The London Blitz

The London Blitz

Winston Churchill walks through the rubble after the blitz.

The London Blitz

Source: Dailymail.co.uk

The Blitz brought to life: Incredible colour pictures show the devastation and defiance of London as it was pounded by a nightly aerial onslaught

  • Photos show full horror of destruction inflicted by Nazi bombings across London during The Blitz 75 years ago
  • Attacks, which took place between September 1940 and May 1941, killed 43,000 people and left one million homeless
  • Hundreds of buildings in heart of ­financial district were set ablaze in what became almost nightly pounding of city
  • Poignant images now being displayed as part of exhibition in Manchester's Imperial War Museum North until 2016

A night-time bombing raid

The London Blitz

A Civil Defence Warden surveys bomb-damaged buildings in Holborn (left), while a district messenger boy walks past another bomb site. Hundreds of buildings were destroyed during the 267-day onslaught

The London BlitzThe London Blitz

An audience enjoys some light lunchtime entertainment in a war workers' canteen during the height of Luftwaffe's blitz

The London Blitz

The attacks, which took place between September 1940 and May 1941, killed more than 43,000 people and left more than one million homeless. Citizens were forced to huddle in bomb shelters for protection, or take cover among the rubble, as Goering’s bombers dropped 50,000 tonnes of explosives across the city.

As well as thousands of homes being destroyed, hundreds of buildings in the heart of the ­financial district were set ablaze in what became an almost nightly pounding of the city. Scores of Christopher Wren churches were destroyed while, during one horrific onslaught just after Christmas Day, the 15th-century Guildhall was also set on fire.

The Luftwaffe's Second World War Blitz finally dwindled after mid-1941, but the terrifying 267-day campaign became a defining moment in British history, a touchstone for the stoic spirit with which countrymen and women soldiered on, despite the devastation unfolding around them.

The poignant images are now being displayed in Manchester's Imperial War Museum North as part of Horrible Histories: Blitzed Brits at IWM North. The exhibition, which runs until early 2016, features personal stories, objects, photographs, art works, film clips and sound recordings.

Rubble: The iconic St Paul's Cathedral stands defiant above the surrounding devastation caused by the bombing raids

The London Blitz

Landmark: Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, as seen from Westminster bridge, as barrage balloons float in the background. Big Ben was not unaffected by the Blitz - at one point, the lights of the clock were darkened so German pilots couldn't use them as a guide

The London Blitz

Helping the war effort: The Girl Guides and Sea Rangers sell saving stamps in the midst of the seven-month attack on the capital

The London Blitz

Then: The bombed site of John Lewis, Oxford Street - which was used for the Army Exhibition - left as a crumbling, empty shell

The London Blitz

Now: This recent picture of Oxford Street shows how the same site has been rebuilt since The Blitz

The London Blitz

 

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