70 Years On: The Sheffield Blitz.
29 Dec 2010 by Sarah
.As cliché as it may be, it’s hard to imagine Britain being involved in a war that actually affects everyday life for every person in the country. For those who currently have no relations involved in the conflicts currently taking place, in a country far from our own, war probably isn’t something that crosses our minds. A memorial of the Sheffield Blitz took place on Sunday December 12th, last year. That night, I was sat in my cosy apartment, Christmas tree lights sparkling, writing this article. Had I been there Seventy years previously that same night, my home would not have been there come dawn.
The Moor, was open for business as usual the morning of the 12th, 2010 when Sheffield commemorated the anniversary of the 1940 Blitz. Despite the sobering facts of the event, a certain pride resonates, on seeing the huge British flags hung over the exhibit areas, and knowing they aren’t associated with vile racist movements.
Amongst the posters recruiting for Land Army girls, the signs declaring an air raid open, gas masks, coffee tins and other items clearly built to last, we have a man from the Home Guard to tell us a little more about the experience of the Blitz. People gathered round in small, sincere groups, ages varying from those who may have lived through it, and those who were learning about World War Two for the first time.
When Britain attacked the city of Dresden in 1945, killing masses of civilians, the prominent reaction was one of condemnation. But ask any resident of Sheffield back then whether or not it was the right thing to do, and chances are they would have said damn right. Such was the damage of the Blitz, and a solemn reminder of how hate and violence can poison the moral duties of any ordinary person.
I’d always believed the attacks were directed at the steel works before that day. Our friend at The Home Guard tells us the real targets were the factory workers. He has a valid point; if the idea were to invade and eventually conquer Britain, then the Steel Works would be useful to them. The overall view, is that the German plan was to break the morale of the British and force them to surrender through weakness and exhaustion. The ending of course, is well known. Amusing then, how many media forms have dubbed our country “broken Britain” merely because we face crisis’s of our own doing. If nothing else, the event gave recent changes into a perspective of gratitude.
Of all the deaths, in every country affected by the Nazi plans of domination and mass murder, the group with the overall highest numbers, were the civilians. Anyone, everyone, at an unknown but deadly risk for nearly six years. In the midst of uncertain politics, the war memorial events can only serve to strengthen resolve and provide value reminders, that democracy is not a privilege we own, but a system we have a human duty to ensure.