The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History

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SECOND WORLD WAR (1939-1945)

Updated:  27 January 2011 

Following an announcement by Hitler that he was about to send his troops into Czechoslovakia, the war process was begun on August 24th 1938, when Parliament passed the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act.  This enabled the Government to take measures to ensure public safety, the defence of the country and the maintenance of public order.

Hitler marched into Austria in March 1938 and annexed that country as part of Germany.

Gas masks were issued to the public on September 26th 1938.  A few days later, on the 29th, the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, and Adolf Hitler signed the Munich Agreement.

The story that follows relates principally to events in Plymouth and the surrounding neighbourhood.  Some national events have been included to add perspective to what was happening in the City.

Preparation for war and the declaration of war on September 3rd 1939.

The first air raid on Plymouth

The worst year in Plymouth's history.  During the Plymouth Blitz of seven nights in March and April 1941 a large part of the City was totally destroyed.

A relatively peaceful year.

The preparations for the invasion of Europe were begun.

The "Plan for Plymouth" was published.  D-Day, the invasion of Europe, took place on June 6th 1944.  The Home Guard was disbanded.

1945 and the aftermath
The end of the Second World War brought the clearing up operations and planning for the future, although the physical reconstruction did not commence until 1947.




  Brian Moseley, Plymouth, UK

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