WWII: Outbreak | Britain on the brink of World War II
CHANNEL | Home Service
FIRST BROADCAST | 11 November 1939
DURATION | 8 minutes 26 seconds
Broadcast on Armistice Day in 1939, this message from Queen Elizabeth, consort to HM King George VI, is a tribute to the women of Europe. On behalf of the female population of Britain, she sends her sympathies to the women of Poland and France, who have been among the first to experience the hardships of war. She also commends the fortitude of women who have played an active role on the Home Front, particularly those who have opened their homes to children evacuated from places of 'special danger'.
HM Queen Elizabeth makes reference here to the feelings she shares with parents all over the country, having been separated from her children due to the outbreak of war. At the time of this broadcast, her daughters Elizabeth and Margaret (aged 13 and nine respectively) were living at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. They spent Christmas 1939 at Sandringham in Norfolk, but within six months they had been moved to the relative safety of Windsor Castle, which would be their home for the remainder of the war. In October 1940, the BBC broadcast
Princess Elizabeth's first address to the nation.
Chamberlain returns from a meeting with Hitler in Bad Godesberg.
The BBC announces Britain's home defence measures.
Chamberlain broadcasts to the nation after one of his last meetings with Hitler.
Richard Dimbleby is at the scene of Chamberlain's return from Munich.
News extract on one aspect of British home defence measures - gas masks.
An inside report from Czechoslovakia on the German occupation.
Germany proposes a settlement to the Polish problem.
Children from London depart for an unknown destination in the countryside.
'Germany has invaded Poland and has bombed many towns.'
'This country is at war with Germany' announces the Prime Minister.
The King calls for courage and faith in the battle ahead.
The ultimatum to Germany is due to expire at 11.00am.
The Battle of the Atlantic begins as the first British ship is sunk by the Germans.
Teachers and a schoolgirl describe settling down in the country.
Evacuees from Manchester discuss their new lives.
The Foreign Secretary speaks after two months of war.
A message of hope and encouragement to the women of Europe.
How various hospitals in London prepared for war.
Personal memories of the outbreak of World War II.
A reporter remembers Poland in the summer of 1939.
What will the BBC's role be during war?
Precautions to protect staff from air raids.
Plans for variety programmes during wartime.
Defence: the Corporation's plans in the event of war.
Plans for the 'Radio Times' during wartime.
'This department will have to stand by in a period of comparative chaos.'
The front cover of the 'Radio Times' from the pre-war edition.
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's broadcast to the nation.
The front cover of the 'Radio Times' from the wartime revised edition.
Are the headquarters of the BBC in danger from an air attack?
Is there a need to camouflage the headquarters of the BBC?
Remember your gas mask.
A collection of photographs from the BBC archives on the outbreak of World War II.
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