Chapter

War experienced: September 1939–May 1941

Robert Mackay

in Half the Battle

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780719058936
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700143 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719058936.003.0003
War experienced: September 1939–May 1941

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The term ‘Phoney War’ was used to illustrate that no massed flights of German bombers appeared above Britain's cities to batter the citizens into submission. After the eight months of relative inactivity, there came a period of momentous events: the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk, the collapse of France, the threat of invasion, the Battle of Britain. This was followed by subjecting London and several provincial cities to heavy bombing and the persistence of threat of invasion. Finally, the last phase showed the withdrawal of threat of invasion, the bombing became more patchy and intermittent and the war took on the character of a long haul to victory. Inactive character itself became a threat to popular morale during Phoney War. Fear, panic and hysteria were present among civilians subjected to bombing. Russia's involvement meant that victory was not quite so difficult to imagine.

Keywords: Phoney War; German bombers; Battle of Britain; British Expeditionary Force; France; London; bombing; Russia

Chapter.  19445 words. 

Subjects: Military History

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