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History question about WW2 declared

(6 Posts)
Easilyflattered Sun 30-Sep-18 21:14:55

More history than politics, but today a relative and I were discussing Brexit and possible fallout from it. Her reaction was "Brexit will never happen, they won't let it". This is from someone I consider well educated and reasonably intelligent.

So it's got me thinking, does anyone know how the average man on the street felt in 1939 on the day war was declared? Were they expecting it? Or were they thinking "it won't come to anything, they'll never let it happen!"

I know (or certainly hope!) That Brexit won't be as awful and dramatic as WW2, I'm just curious as to whether some people were quietly preparing or whether the entire nation was genuinely surprised. I don't have any older relatives to ask so I'm hoping for knowledgeable history buffs lurking in mumsnet.

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BMW6 Wed 03-Oct-18 13:54:30

My mum was 11 in 1939 and told us that it had been building up for a while, so the declaration of war was not a surprise. Of course it was hoped that diplomacy might work to avoid war, but she said that the feeling was that the Nazis were untrustworthy and hell-bent on doing whatever they wanted regardless.
She said about how her mum and other mums wept, remembering the carnage of the first world war and told the loss of so many men. However, the general feeling was that standing up to the Nazi was the right thing to do, regardless.

I am lucky that years ago mum filled several notebooks with her reminiscences. Some of it is incredible (terrifying bombing raids night after night), some quite funny and a lot really sad.

Childrenofthestones Fri 15-Feb-19 19:45:20

My father was 19 and serving in the RN on a destroyer in the Med
My Grandfather who was gassed and left crippled in ww1 dreaded the news.

TressiliansStone Fri 15-Feb-19 19:50:42

I'm a Dorothy L Sayers fan. Her 1930s books have the characters very strongly anticipating war. Hoping desperately that it won't happen, but seeing it as a very real possibility.

Civil defence forces were distributing gas masks in February 1939 – six months before the declaration of war.

TressiliansStone Fri 15-Feb-19 19:53:14

There may very well have been people saying "they'll never let it happen" about WWII.

And I'm not sure that helps you re Brexit. I appreciate time has moved on since you posted this...

Easilyflattered Wed 20-Feb-19 16:36:35

Yes time has moved on since I posted this. I'm still having trouble comprehending how other countries now have adverts warning about potential impact of a no deal Brexit, and yet we get no clear message just a parliament in chaos.

Tress, it doesn't help me, I'm just trying to think of the last time the country's future was so uncertain and when we needed such faith in our politicians to avoid a national disaster.

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