Ol' Remus at The Woodpile Report had an interesting historical tidbit:
London was bombed seventy-one times during the "official" Blitz, from September 1940 to May 1941. Most were night attacks, the Luftwaffe having failed to gain air superiority. Raids averaged 200 bombers per night. Losses were light—low single-digit per cent, yet shifting strategy and lack of heavy bombers attained far less than could be expected for the effort.
Some one million houses were destroyed and 40,000 civilians killed, less than some single raids on German cities by the RAF and USAAF. John Bull, ever frugal, used much of the rubble for building airfields, and the "cleared" areas were handy places for Victory Gardens. Civilian morale was said to be higher at the end of the Blitz than at the beginning.I love that last line: Civilian morale was said to be higher at the end of the Blitz than at the beginning.
Remember the surge of patriotism in the US after 9/11...and our government telling us that the best thing we could do was to get out and go shopping? I'm going to go out on a limb here and posit that if the British government had told everyone to just buy new clothes and curtains after every wave of destruction, Great Britain may well have ended up German Britain.
Despite deprivation, destruction, and losses of WW2, the British knew what they were fighting for and were willing to make the sacrifices necessary to win. The rest of the Allies were also willing to do without so that we could aid our friends in the fight.
Not so much now. At least in the US, I can't imagine our government today using rubble to build airfields. The alphabet agencies' shrieks of anger would deafen us. And can you imagine the lawsuits if the government tried to order bomb-cleared private land be used to produce food to feed the public? For that matter, think of the outrage that would result if the government tried to impose rationing again?
As the world inches closer to another war, we need to ask ourselves if we, as a country, are willing and able to make the sacrifices necessary to win. Can we live with rationing and shortages? Can we adapt, improvise, and overcome? Can we forget our differences and pull together?
Can we remember what we are fighting for?