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Interactive air raid map from University sheds light on the Blitz

Could the Luftwaffe have done things differently?

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Image Credit: Imperial War Museum MH6547

AN ONLINE MAP has been created at the University of York which highlights the location of every bombing site of the Blitz during the Second World War.

The map, titled as Bombing Britain: an air raid map, contains over 30,000 lo-cations that each holds a pin displaying a factfile for the location including specific dates and casualty numbers.
The interactive heat aspect of the map will allow researchers to see the concentration of bombing in certain areas.

The information was researched by Dr Laura Blomvall from the Department of English and Related Literature and 6,500 pages of reports from wartime intelligence officers for the Ministry of Home Security were used. The map is also part of the War State and Society online resource published by Routledge, Taylor and Francis.

It is likely that this map will be able to change popular misconceptions about the Second World War. It will debunk the myth that London and the south east were the only areas to be heavily bombed and will highlight the true devastation caused by the Luftwaffe across the nation.
For example, the map shows that the first area to be bombed was actually the Firth of Forth in Scotland and that one of the heaviest bombed cities was Hull, where more than 400 people were killed in two raids.

Analysing the data from this map could provide answers for why the Nazis failed to take Britain. It is believed that the Luftwaffe should have attacked immediately after Churchill’s famous Battle of Britain speech on 18 June rather than waiting until three weeks later on 10 July. Attacking cities rather than focusing on airfields was also a crucial mistake by the Luftwaffe.
This interactive tool will help students and historians alike to consider the significance of the RAF victory during the Battle of Britain.

When asked by the University of York, Dr Blomvall said: “This map offers an astonishing insight into the extent and scale of total war. Bombing Britain allows us to visualise how bomb strikes affected the entire country – not just London and the south east – as bombs were dropped from the Orkney Islands to Coventry, from Liverpool to the Scilly Isles and from Dover to Swansea.“
"This unique research project shows how war was ‘no longer confined to the battlefield’. The normalisation of aerial warfare turned mainland Britain into a violent battlefield, and the term ‘home front’ was no longer figurative.”

Since the launch of the map in October 2019, it has been experiencing technical difficulties due to such high demand.When asked for comment, Dr George Hay, military historian at The National Archives, said: "This interactive map makes use of the intelligence reports [...] and visually demonstrates the impact and reach of those attacks."

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