People’s War at All Levels Comparative Blog

Britain is a place where the memories of the past and her people are baked into the streets, architecture, and words of the museums.  The museums of Bletchley Park, Imperial War Museum and Churchill’s War Rooms are all a part of Britain’s perspective of the People’s War. where British citizens are shown relying on one another, making sacrifices in food rationing, limiting resource consumption, and supporting Britain’s survival.  The stories of rations on electricity or coal stood out as everyone from cooks, Alan Turing and even Churchill were forced to live and work in dim, cool rooms with this policy of no waste being strictly followed.  A similar policy followed food as families in their homes forcing cooks to be creative which Churchill’s personal chief did to feed him.  This national character of sacrifice was the backbone of the British Fighting Spirit.



The Imperial War Museum deals with the larger scope of the war with the cost it had on Britain and her people.  The setting and objects are designed to put viewers in the perspective of those at the time such as a dimly lit home, small portions of dinner for all and the radio keeping those inside informed about the courage of the British people.  The Churchill War Rooms are focused on the strain the government was under, its personnel, and Churchill himself.  The facility is a fortified basement with small rooms where the war was waged.   The cramped living conditions for everyone who worked inside with low lighting and smoke-filled air was their home and burden.  The diary of Chief of Staff General Alan Brookes vividly described his dread as the bombs stopped one day, which he saw as Germany readying invasion.  There in the bunker he stayed for weeks.   The fear of imminent destruction clung in the air like smoke of a cigar, yet it never came.



Harrowing stories of suspense fill the grounds of Bletchley Park for different reasons.  Unlike a military facility, Bletchley was an unusual assortment of huts, mansion and a few buildings which hold top-level security which all its members sworn to secrecy by penalty of death.  This was a necessary precaution as hundreds of men/women worked twenty-four hours a day to gather and decode German radio traffic with revolutionary equipment, including the world’s first computer, to decipher the German Enigma code.  This embodied the British national character, as the scope of their efforts touched all parts of the war with stories of sacrifice of body and mind as they worked to bring an end to the war.