- Timeline of the United Kingdom home front during World War II
This is a Timeline of the United Kingdom home front during World War II. For narrative and bibliography see
Home front during World War II
June 3, 1939: The
Military Training Act, Britain's first peacetime draft, comes into force. All men aged 20-21 are now liable to call-up for four years military service as 'Militiamen'.
August 24, 1939: Given the worsening situation in Europe, Parliament is recalled and immediately enacts the
Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939, granting the government special legislative powers for the duration of the crisis.: Army reservists are called up.: Civil Defenceworkers are put on alert.
August 30, 1939: The Fleet proceeds to its war stations.
September 1, 1939: In response to the German invasion of Poland and the prospect of war with
Germany, plans for the evacuation of children and nursing and expectant mothers from Londonand other areas deemed vulnerable to German air attack are put into action.: The Blackout begins.:The British Armyis officially mobilized.
September 2, 1939: Under intense criticism from the House,
Neville Chamberlainabandons an offer to negotiate peace terms between Germany and Poland and agrees to present an ultimatum to Hitler.
September 3, 1939: Shortly after 11:00 Chamberlain announces to the nation that his ultimatum has expired and that Britain is at war with Germany.: Twenty minutes later the first air raid sirens are sounded in London. They are a false alarm.: Chamberlain reforms his Government, creating a small
War Cabinetwhich includes Winston Churchillas First Lord of the Admiralty.: The National Service (Armed Forces) Act is passed. All men aged 18-41 are now potentially liable for conscription.
September 7, 1939: The
National Registration Actis passed, introducing identity cards.
September 27, 1939: The first war tax is revealed by the Cabinet, including a significant hike in income taxes.
October 1, 1939: Call-Up Proclamation: all men aged 20-21 who have not already done so must apply for registration with the military authorities.
October 6, 1939: With the end of formal Polish resistance the
January 8, 1940: First food rationing introduced.
May 10, 1940: Germany invades France and the Low Countries, ending the
Phony War.: Winston Churchillbecomes Prime Minister and forms an all-party coalition government.
May 14, 1940: In a BBC radio broadcast
Anthony Edencalls for the creation of the "Local Defence Volunteers" (LDV) militia - renamed on July 23 the Home Guard.
May 22, 1940: The
Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1940is passed, granting the government even more authority to control persons and property for the duration of the war.
July 9, 1940: Official start date of the
Battle of Britain.
September 7, 1940: German bombing raid on South London's Surrey Docks signals the formal beginning of
October 31, 1940: Official end date of the
Battle of Britain.
November 14, 1940: Massive German bombing raid on
January 21, 1941:The Communist Daily Worker is banned.
May 10, 1941: Last major attack on London of the 1940-41 Blitz.
December 18, 1941: The
National Service (No. 2) Actis passed. All men and women aged 18-60 are now liable to some form of national service, including military service for those under 51. The first military registration of 18.5-year-olds takes place. The Schedule of Reserved Occupationsis abandoned: from now on only individual deferments from the draft will be accepted.
March 5, 1942: The
Daily Mirrorpublishes a controversial cartoon by Zecwhich Churchill and other senior government figures allege is damaging to public morale. Zecis investigated by MI5and the government seriously proposes banning the newspaper until parliamentary opposition forces a retreat.
April 23, 1942: Beginning of so-called
Baedeker Blitzon English provincial towns; attacks continue sporadically until June 6.
December 1, 1942:Sir William Beveridge's Report on "Social Insurance and Allied Services" published.
June 12, 1944: First
V-1 Flying Bombattack on London.
September 8, 1944: First
V-2 Rocketattack on London.
September 17, 1944: The Blackout is replaced by a partial 'dim-out'.
September 22, 1944:
Ernest Bevinannounces the government's plan for eventual military demobilization.
December 3, 1944: The Home Guard is stood down.
March 27, 1945: Last V-2 attack on London.
March 29, 1945: Last V-1 attack on London.
May 8, 1945: VE Day.May 23, 1945: The Labour Party members of the coalition government resign in order to prepare for the upcoming general election. Churchill appoints a largely Conservative caretaker government.
June 16, 1945: The Family Allowances Act passed. Mothers will receive a tax-free cash payment for each child in their care. This is the first time in Britain that a state payment has gone directly to a wife rather than her husband.
June 18, 1945:
Demobilizationof the armed forces begins.
July 5, 1945: General election voting takes place in the UK. The ballots are then sealed for three weeks to allow the collection and counting of overseas service votes.July 26, 1945: The Labour Party wins the general election with a historic landslide.
Clement Attleebecomes Prime Minister and forms a new government.
August 15, 1945:VJ Day.
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