1936 (January) George V dies and is succeeded by his son Edward.
Edward VIII abdicates after the Government refuses to accept
Mrs Simpson as Queen.
(December) Edward’s brother George becomes King George VI.
1937 (May) Baldwin retires and Neville Chamberlain takes over as P.M.
1938 (Spring) Hitler take over Austria
1939 3rd September Chamberlain announces Britain at War with Germany.
1940 (January) Food rationing begins.
(May) First deliberate bombing on mainland Britain
Winston Churchill becomes P.M of coalition government
Evacuation of British soldiers’ home to Britain from Dunkirk
(August- October) “Battle of Britain”
(August) First bombing of civilian Britain (London)
(September-May ’41) “The Blitz”
1941 (June) Clothes rationing begins
(December) Japanese attack US Navy at Pearl Harbour.
Britain declares war on Japan
Germany and Italy declare war on US (Japan their ally)
USA into war, supporting Britain an dallies
1942 Beveridge Report published urging the Nation Health Service.
1944 Secondary education required for all. Butler Education Act
(6 June) D-Day landing of Allies in France
1945 (May) German forces surrender
(8 May) V.E. Day, “Victory in Europe”
(14 August) V.J .Day, “Victory over Japan”
(July) Clement Attlee becomes Labour Prime Minister
1948 (July) National Insurance Scheme and National Health Service starts
1954 End of all rationing
At 11.15 a.m. on 3rd September 1939, Britain’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared war on Germany.
3rd September 1939
Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister.
“I am speaking to you from the Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street.
This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note stating that unless we heard from them by 11 o’clock that they were prepared to withdraw their troops from Poland a state of war would exist between us.
I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received and consequently this country is at war with Germany.”
This came as no surprise to the people of Britain; they had begun preparing for the war as early as 1935. Gas masks had been issued to the public and over 1 million children from the major cities were evacuated to the countryside for safety.
(B.B.C newsreader, 31 May 1940.)
‘Men of the undefeated British Expeditionary Force have
been coming home from France.’
This sounded like a hopeful announcement. Nearly a quarter of a million British soldiers had been brought back to Britain by boat from Dunkirk. In fact, they were exhausted, dirty and defeated. They had left all their guns, tanks and lorries in France.
The French and the British had given the Nazis little trouble. Now Hitler wanted to knock Britain out of the war. He called his plan ‘Operation Sealion’ – this was the invasion of Britain. The British knew the situation was serious.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill, 1940
‘We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender.’ (Winston Churchill, 1940.)
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