Society during World War II

Leaving Cert > Dictatorship and Democracy in Europe > Society during World War II

Children in Liverpool playing while wearing gas masks and protective clothing. This picture was taken during the time known as the Blitz, when German planes would regularly bomb British towns and cities.Source: The Liverpool Echo
By now you know all about the war itself, as well as the technology and weapons that were used, but how did people actually live during this time? In Third Year you looked at life in Ireland during what we called "the Emergency", but Ireland was neutral and was not in any real danger of attack. It was very different for people living in Britain, France, Germany and any other European country involved in the war. In this section, the last of the Dictatorship and Democracy part of the course, you learn about wartime life for civilians in Britain, France and Germany. Each had different experiences, you may be asked to compare them.




  • Germany:
    • Total war: everyone and all resources involved in the war effort, forced labour.
    • Suffering: Food shortages, Allied air raids.
    • The Gestapo and the SS: what were their roles?
    • The Jews: the Final Solution.
    • Resistance: Partisans, July Plot, collaboration.
  • Vichy France (you previously studied this in the France section):
    • Collaborative actions.
    • Charles de Gaulle and the Resistance movements.
  • Britain:
    • Conscription.
    • Suffering: Food shortages, air raids (the Blitz).
    • The Home Guard.
    • Employment.
    • Propaganda and entertainment.
If you're answering a question society during World War II, previously studied sections such as "Anglo-American Popular Culture" or Goebbels' role in Nazi Germany may also be useful to you.

Key Terms:  
Anti-Semitism, Holocaust, Resistance, Collaboration, Propaganda
(click here)


American comic books such as Captain America and Batman were used as a form of pro-Allied propaganda.
Here, Captain America is beating Hitler up.




Higher Level (100 marks each)
2015: What were the economic and social problems of Britain during the inter-war years and/or what was the impact of World War II on its civilian population?

2008: What was the impact of World War II on the civilian population of Britain and/or France?



Ordinary Level:
2015, Dictatorship and Democracy, Part B:
Write a short paragraph on the "Home Front" in Britain during World War II. (30)

2010, Dictatorship and Democracy, Part B
2007, Dictatorship and Democracy, Part B:
Write a short paragraph on France during World War II. (30)

2009, Dictatorship and Democracy, Part B
2006, Dictatorship and Democracy, Part B:
Write a short paragraph on Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. (30)

2008, Dictatorship and Democracy, Part B
2006, Dictatorship and Democracy, Part B:
Write a short paragraph on the Vichy State in France, 1940 - 1945. (30)



St. Michael's Cathedral in Coventry, England, was built in the Middle Ages. It was destroyed by German bombs during the war, and its ruins still stand today next to a new cathedral.







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