Was Britain close to surrender?

Was Britain close to surrender?

After suffering defeat in the Battle of Britain, the Luftwaffe changed tactics and began bombing British towns and cities. This period of aerial attacks is known as 'The Blitz'. Though the British people stood strong in the face of those German attacks, how close were they to giving in? In this episode of IWM Stories, Senior Curator Ian Kikuchi answers that very question by looking at one the deadliest nights of the Blitz, the bombing of Coventry.

The Blitz

St Paul's Cathedral seen through smoke caused by a bombing raid on London in December 1940.
© IWM (HU 36220)
Remains of the 600-year-old St Michael's Cathedral two days after the devastating air raid on Coventry on 14-15 November 1940
© IWM (H 5603)
Second World War
The Blitz Around Britain
The 'Blitz' – from the German term Blitzkrieg ('lightning war') – was the sustained campaign of aerial bombing attacks on British towns and cities carried out by the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) from September 1940 until May 1941.
St Paul's Cathedral, rising above the bombed London skyline, is shrouded in smoke during the Blitz. The photograph was taken from the roof of the Daily Mail offices in Fleet Street.
St Paul's Cathedral, rising above the bombed London skyline, is shrouded in smoke during the Blitz. © IWM (HU 36220A)
The Blitz
10 Incredible Stories Of Bravery During The Blitz
The huge volume of explosives that were dropped by the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) on Britain during the Blitz called for incredible feats of bravery. Targeted aerial attacks on towns and cities began on 7 September 1940 and wrought huge devastation until they temporarily drew to a close in May 1941.

IWM Shop

Blitz Replica Pack

Travel back in time and discover what life was like during the Blitz with this replica pack. 

Full of everyday memorabilia such as letters and leaflets, the Blitz replica pack is an excellent way to make history come alive for children and adults, as well as a useful aid for homework and lesson plans. 

St Pauls During The Blitz Print

This photograph was taken by Herbert Mason, a photographer for the Daily Mail during the Second World War.

On fire watch duty on the roof of the newspaper's headquarters, Herbert Mason was able to capture the most destructive Luftwaffe air raids of the London Blitz.

The Blitzed Brits

It's history with the nasty bits left in! Want to know what really happened in Dad's Army?  How to make a rude noise with a gas mask? Why the blitzed Brits ate chicken-fruit, sinkers and nutty? Discover all the foul facts about the Blitzed Brits.

Total War

Total War is an illustrated account of the most pivotal historical episode of the 20th century: the Second World War. It was not one single event, but rather the confluence of many simultaneous conflicts across the globe – on land, in the air, across the sea and beneath it.