From Devastation to Unity: The People’s War in England

     Throughout history, we generally regard the Second World War as being the British “People’s War”. For Britain, this war was a ‘total war’, meaning that every part of British society was somehow involved in the war. Whether it was the military conscription, air raids, the war economy, or something else that affected daily life in Britain, no British citizen remained untouched by the war; every Brit was in a similar position. Because of this, there was a feeling of unity among the British people as they fought this war together to liberate themselves from the grips of war and to return to their normal ways of life. This is why it is remembered as being a “People’s War.”

    As we traveled throughout London, I noticed this experienced embodied within several sites that we visited. The main place I noticed this was within the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms. Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of England at the time, but despite this, he viewed himself as being the same as the other British citizens, with the only difference being that he would help lead them all to victory. I saw this evident in many of the exhibits in the museum where Churchill mentioned the Brits being a unity force against the enemy with a common purpose, such as on posters that stated “Let Us Go Forward Together.” However, I noticed this most significantly in the quote from Churchill which states, “We are all worms, but I do believe that I am a glow-worm.” This reinforces the idea that Churchill viewed himself as being the same as the other British citizens, and that he was just a leading force among them that worked towards unity and victory.


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