Half the Battle: Civilian Morale in Britain During the Second World War

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Manchester University Press, 2002 - 282 pages
How well did civilian morale stand up to the pressures of total war and what factors were important to it? This work offers a robust rejection of contentions that civilian morale fell a long way short of the favourable picture presented during World War II and in hundreds of books and films ever since. It acknowledges that some negative attitudes and behaviours existed - panic and defeatism, ration-cheating and black-marketeering, looting, absenteeism and strikes - but argues that these involved a very small minority of the population. Robert Mackay demostrates how government policies for the maintainence of morale were put in place, giving special emphasis to the patriotic feeling that held the nation together despite the official pessimistic prognosis in the initial stages of the war.
 

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Contents

War imagined
17
A united nation?
22
Preparing for the storm
31
The view from below
39
War experienced September 1939May 1941
45
The Phoney War
46
The Emergency MaySeptember 1940
59
The Big Blitz
68
Stimulating patriotism
161
Easing the strain
186
Food
195
Working conditions
205
Health
207
Recreation and leisure
209
Some essential inessentials
215
Beveridge and all that
221

War experienced 194145
91
Separations
97
Restrictions restrictions
105
Working and not working
119
EXPLANATIONS
139
Persuading the people
141
Controlling the news
142
The propaganda of reassurance
149
Thinking about the future
222
The impact of Beveridge
231
Another sign of things to come?
240
The invisible chain
248
BIBLIOGRAPHY
267
INDEX
275
Copyright

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