What Do You Know About Life in England During WWII?


By: Isadora Teich

6 Min Quiz

Image: wikimedia

About This Quiz

Think you know your World War II history? World War II officially lasted from 1939 to 1945, but it left a mark on history that will never be forgotten. This war changed everything about culture and technology. It was the precursor to numerous conflicts and tensions that can still be felt around the world to this day. International diplomacy and politics are complicated, with the relationships between countries changing all the time, but many of our current problems got their start during the World Wars.

As the U.K. was fighting on the front lines of World War II from day one, it affected everyday people heavily, whether they were fighting on the front lines or not. Germany repeatedly attacked London, and the residents of one of the world's largest cities lived in a state of alert and fear for much of World War II. Many civilians even built bomb shelters.

While World War II was a unique moment in human evil and human perseverance, there is often a lot about it that is not talked about, just because it is so complex. If you think you know what life was like in England during World War II, put your history knowledge to the test with this quiz!

How did Britain try to protect children during WWII?

After the war began in 1939, it was feared that Germans would bomb major British cities. Over 800,000 children were evacuated from cities to the countryside, only to be returned before the bombing began.


How did Germans attack London?

In 1940 German forces began dropping bombs on U.K. cities in terrifying air raids. By 1941, over 13,000 Londoners had been killed.


Who was the prime minister of England during WWII?

Winston Churchill led England during World War II. He is famous for his unwavering resolve in standing against Hitler.


The health of the English poor _________ during the war.

During the war, luxury products like alcohol and cigarettes were incredibly expensive. Sweets, sugar, fatty meats and other unhealthy foods were rationed, while people were encouraged to grow their own produce.


Did German forces only drop bombs on London?

Germans bombed London heavily, but attacked other cities as well. These included Birmingham, Coventry, Bristol and Plymouth.


What was used to warn the British public about air raids?

Before the war, the British government took air raid precautions and put systems in place to help the public protect themselves. This included barrage balloons and air raid sirens.


About two million _________ were destroyed in Britain by German air raids.

Over the course of the war, about two million homes were destroyed by German air raids. This led to a massive post-war housing shortage.


About how many civilians were killed during the air raids?

About 40,000 civilians died in England during World War II. While most of the destruction was in London, numerous other British cities were attacked.


What was the first thing rationed in Britain?

Gasoline, or petrol, was the first thing to be rationed in Britain. This began in 1939, and over the course of the war rationing became more strict.


Which of these was among the first foods to be rationed?

First, gasoline was rationed in 1939. In 1940, butter, sugar, ham and bacon were rationed as well.


Was tea rationed over the course of the war?

While tea was not the first thing to be rationed, it was rationed from 1940 on, along with butter, ham, bacon, and sugar.


How did British citizens try to keep safe during the air raids?

Anderson shelters were outdoor metal shelters and Morrison shelters were indoors. Some people even took shelter underground in London.


How many eggs were British citizens allowed a week during the war?

Under rationing, they were allowed one egg a week. Sometimes this was just one egg every two weeks.


During the war, British citizens were encouraged to "dig for victory," which meant what?

Since so much food was rationed, British citizens were encouraged to start growing their own food. After the war, millions of more acres of land were under cultivation than before it.


Which of these everyday goods was also rationed?

Clothing was rationed in Britain from 1941 until 1949, years after the war. Stockings, in particular, became so scarce that women would paint their legs brown and paint seams on to mimic stockings.


Did most British people own cars during WWII?

In 1940, only about 1 in 10 British families owned a single car. Most people relied on buses and trains.


What did Britain run out of during WWII?

At first, gasoline was rationed, but in 1942 no more of it was available. Many things were rationed or completely unavailable over the course of the war.


Which of these items was unavailable during the war?

As bananas were imported from abroad, they became unavailable during the war. Many children born during this time did not see their first banana until the war concluded.


Could children come by toys easily during the war?

Most toy factories were converted to factories to make materials for the war effort. Children either had to play with old toys or make their own.


Was soap rationed?

From the winter of 1941, soap and washing powder were rationed. Even things like saucepans were hard to find.


How did civilians stay informed over the course of the war?

At the start of the war, few people owned TVs in England. Radio was vital to keeping up morale and keeping the populace informed.


What did many English people do to keep their spirits up during the war?

Cinemas had been popular in England for decades by the start of the war. Over the course of WWII, many people went once a week or more for an escape.


Did women play a role in the war effort?

Women operated anti-aircraft guns and worked as ambulance drivers. They worked in factories or farms and as nurses.


What did rations largely affect in England?

England has always imported the vast majority of its food, and Germans planned to block the ships carrying this food in the hopes of starving the country into submission. The rationing system was employed to help cope with extreme shortages.


British civilians were instructed to minimize all outdoor light for safety reasons, a practice known as ________.

A blackout is supposed to minimize the destruction of nighttime aerial attacks by making an area dark. There were no street lights or shop lights, vehicles had their lights covered, and all homes had blackout curtains in the windows.


Did English children still attend school during WWII?

While children still attended school, it was different for many kids. Some schools were moved to the country from the city and other kids were taught a few days a week in people's homes.


Which of these was issued as a pre-war precaution?

Poison gas had been used in WWI, so it was expected that the Germans would use it again. For this reason, gas masks were issued to the English public in 1939.


What did England do to German citizens living in their country during WWII?

German and Austrian citizens living in England were jailed for political reasons at the start of the war. Italians living in England were also rounded up at Churchill's orders in 1940, after Italy joined the war.


Half a million English women joined the uniformed services: True or False?

Women were an integral part of the war effort. From 1941 they were conscripted as men had been since the beginning of the war.


Why did German bombing become less common in England after 1941?

In 1941 the Nazis began their disastrous invasion of Soviet Russia. They spent much of the end of the war getting destroyed by the Red Army on the Eastern Front.


Do blackouts work?

According to some experts, aerial bombers use landmarks like train tracks and bodies of water to know where to bomb, and not the lights of everyday life, so blackouts do not make anyone safer. They do, however, mobilize a population and make sure that they follow rules.


What happened to road and rail signs in England during the war?

In 1940 there was a widespread fear of a German land invasion. All road and rail signs were removed in response.


What thrived in England during WWII?

Many took advantage of the blackouts to commit crimes. In an era of rations, the black market also thrived, providing sugar, soap and more to those willing to pay a high price.


How did many people get extras during the ration years?

While some did turn to crime, many more people tried to befriend their neighborhood grocer. They would often give extras to their preferred customers, if they had any.


Did rationing end when the war ended?

World War II ended in 1945, but rationing continued until 1954. This was because a large number of men were still in the armed forces and Britain had to feed those in its empire despite a severely damaged economy.


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