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A People’s War: A People’s Peace

Margaret Badley

Course Title: A People’s War: A People’s Peace

Course Code: 3XPW10B19

Start Date: 08/01/2020

Day of the Week:
  • Wednesday

Session: Morning

Length in weeks: 10

Time: 10:00am to 12:00 noon

Price: £

It has been argued that World War I was fought to make a ”world fit for heroes” but the “People’s Peace” after that war soon became a “wasteland” in which the popular view sees heroes and their families struggling with unemployment and hunger. Less well known is that as prices fell and the cost of living reduced more people than in earlier times began to see the possibility of buying a car and even homeownership rose. Despite a war to end all wars another total war broke out dragging British men, women, and children in its wake. After years of fighting, bombing, rationing and evacuation the government struggled to get a battered and weary country back on its feet. How did people in Britain cope with these changes in their lives from the 30s to the 50s? We examine some of the crucial elements of these decades and the responses including hunger, unemployment, and new industries in the 30s through war work, Blitz, evacuation, the role of the BBC and propaganda during the war. As an exhausted nation staggered into the 50s rationing continued but a Welfare State was helping to bolster morale. Indeed, Macmillan felt able to tell the nation in 1957 that they had “never had it so good”.

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