Lessons from the 1940s – Don’t Lose Heart

In 1940, things looked bleak in the United Kingdom. Hitler had swallowed up Poland, Norway, Denmark, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. In July, the Battle of Britain began as the Luftwaffe began attacking British shipping. In August the target shifted to the RAF, and by September 6, the British had lost 466 planes. Then the Blitz began in September, and London bore fifty-seven straight nights of bombing. By the end of the Blitz in May 1941, only one house in ten was undamaged in central London, and 43,000 civilians had died. Invasion loomed as an ever-present threat. Extreme rationing and shortages, blackouts and air raid shelters, fires and gas masks – this was life for the British.

Living in England seventy years ago, it would have been easy to lose heart. Yet the British kept their famous stiff upper lip and “muddled through.” What Hitler meant to break them made them stronger, more determined, and more unified. They kept to their work and cranked out the ships and planes and tanks they needed for victory. And the senseless raids turned the tide of public opinion in the United States, allowing passage of the crucial Lend-Lease program to provide arms to the United Kingdom, and paving the way to America’s alliance with Britain.

By 1942, light could be seen. Hitler had greedily and foolishly invaded his ally, the Soviet Union. Freed from harassment, Britain grew in strength and became the staging area for Allied troops and for Allied bombers.

Things may look dark, but there is always hope. Follow the British example, don’t lose heart, and let adversity make you stronger and more determined.

4 Responses to “Lessons from the 1940s – Don’t Lose Heart”

  1. Koala Bear Writer

    Wow, that does sound bleak. It’s easy for us, looking back and knowing the end of the story, but they had no idea how it would turn out – and kept fighting and hoping. Great story.

  2. Melissa Marsh

    I am in eternal awe of the British and their absolute determination to stay the course. I love their courage and strength, and I also love the saying that came during this time: “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

  3. Sarah Sundin

    Koala Bear – it’s so good to remember just that – we don’t know what’s at the end of our trials either, but we mustn’t lose hope.
    Melissa – me too 🙂

  4. Moody Fiction

    Sarah, you have a great blog going on here! This is an era of inspiring stories. Last summer I was in Amsterdam and visited the Dutch Resistance Museum, an incredible tribute to the people in the Netherlands who stood their ground in both large and small ways.

    Thanks for posting!
    Stephanie Smith