20 Photographs Depicting British Children During the Blitz of World War II

WWII The London Blitz

The London Blitz was a series of bombing attacks on Britain carried out by the Nazi Luftwaffe during World War II. The Luftwaffe targeted towns and cities, prioritizing the decimation of London.

The Battle of Britain was a series of aerial encounters between the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Nazi Luftwaffe for control of air space over the United Kingdom. The fighting lasted from July 10 until October 31, 1940. On September 6, because the Luftwaffe had failed to gain air superiority, Adolf Hitler and Reichsmarchall Hermann Goring, commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe, ordered the implementation of a new strategy.

Starting September 7, 1940, London was systematically bombed by the Luftwaffe for 56 out of the next 57 consecutive days and nights. On September 15, during a large daylight attack, many Nazi aircrafts were shot down. Afterward, the Luftwaffe gradually switched to night attacks, and the Blitz became an exclusively nocturnal operation.

During the Blitz, the Nazis targeted the western Liverpool sea port and the northern Hull port. Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Glasgow, Manchester, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Sheffield, Southampton, and Swansea were also attacked.

By May, 1941, as the Nazis prepared for Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union, the attack came to an end without crushing the British spirit. The bombings were unsuccessful in slowing war production which continued to increase. The Blitz failed because the Oberkommando de Luftwaffe, the Luftwaffe High Command, did not develop a strategy for destroying British war industry. The bombing efforts were diluted because of attacks on many kinds of industry rather than a focus on the most vital.

More than 40,000 civilians were killed during The Blitz, half of the which occurred in London.

The government planned the evacuation of four million people—mostly women and children—from urban areas, including 1.4 million from London. Daily Mail
A group of evacuees from Bristol arrive at Brent railway station near Kingsbridge in Devon, 1940. The British Government expected about 90 percent of evacuees to stay in private homes. iwm.org
We must expect that, under the pressure of continuous attack upon London, at least three or four million people would be driven out into the open country around the metropolis- Churchill. School children making their way to evacuation buses. BBC
London- East End children evacuating at the start of the Second World War. Pinterest
Children preparing for evacuation with their gas masks. newmanlocalhistory
11 Nov 1940, Londonn. As raiding German Airmen drone overhead these children sleep in hammocks slung between the rails of the underground railway between Aldwych and Holborn, which has been taken out of service to provide safe shelter for Londoners during air raids. Bettmann/CORBIS
Children in an English bomb shelter, England. Pinterest
These children are pictured emerging from an air raid shelter on November 10, 1939, having successfully completed an air raid exercise. Vintage Everyday
Homeless and orphaned children settle down to sleep in the air raid shelter at John Keble Church Mill Hill London. The British government estimated after the First World War that 50 casualties would result for every ton of bombs dropped on London. They estimated that an attack of 60 days would result in 600,000 dead and 1,200,000 wounded. Wikimedia
Schoolchildren learned how to operate gas masks and were schooled huddled together in underground air raid shelters. Vintage Everyday