WWII: Outbreak | Britain on the brink of World War II
CHANNEL | Unknown
RECORDED | circa November 1939
DURATION | 17 minutes 22 seconds
Seen by many as one of the architects of appeasement prior to the declaration of hostilities, Viscount Halifax here speaks to the nation on the purposes of the war and the likelihood of victory for the Allies. During his lengthy, considered speech, he notes that the British 'right to grumble' is a mark of freedom compared with the situation in Nazi Germany, where complaining can lead to a concentration camp. He also looks to the future and to the building of a new world 'on the basis of human equality, self-respect and mutual tolerance'.
Edward Frederick Lindley Wood was known as Baron Irwin from 1925 and Viscount Halifax from 1934, before inheriting his father's title and becoming the third Earl of Halifax in 1944. He served in the cabinets of four prime ministers, was the Viceroy of India from 1926 until 1929 and became chairman of the General Advisory Council to the BBC in 1947. He also features as a character in the film adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel 'The Remains of the Day' (played by Peter Eyre) and in Richard Attenborough's epic film 'Gandhi', where he was portrayed by Sir John Gielgud.
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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