Outbreak of War

WWII: Outbreak | Britain on the brink of World War II

Outbreak of War

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A photograph of the Rt Hon Neville Chamberlain MP at a BBC microphone.

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The Rt Hon Neville Chamberlain MP at a BBC microphone.

TAKEN

IN

1935

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Neville Chamberlain at Heston airport on his return from a meeting with Hitler.

Chamberlain Returns from Negotiations with Hitler

RECORDED c. 1938
4 MINUTES

Chamberlain returns from a meeting with Hitler in Bad Godesberg.

A woman studies an Air Raid Precautions leaflet. © Getty Images.

News | Britain Begins to Prepare for War

BROADCAST 1938
5 MINUTES

The BBC announces Britain's home defence measures.

Neville Chamberlain.

Chamberlain Addresses the Nation on His Negotiations for Peace

BROADCAST 1938
8 MINUTES

Chamberlain broadcasts to the nation after one of his last meetings with Hitler.

Neville Chamberlain holding up a piece of paper that represents the agreement signed by Hitler.

Chamberlain returns from Munich with Anglo-German Agreement

RECORDED 1938
9 MINUTES

Richard Dimbleby is at the scene of Chamberlain's return from Munich.

A woman tries on a gas mask.

News | The Government Issues Instructions on the Use of Gas Masks

RECORDED c. 1938
32 SECONDS

News extract on one aspect of British home defence measures - gas masks.

A BBC microphone.

Journey into Czechoslovakia After the Munich Agreement

RECORDED 1938
9 MINUTES

An inside report from Czechoslovakia on the German occupation.

Adolf Hitler speaking at a podium. © Getty Images.

News | Polish Question: 16 Points

BROADCAST 1939
5 MINUTES

Germany proposes a settlement to the Polish problem.

Evacuees at Waterloo station. © Getty.

Evacuees Depart from Waterloo Station

RECORDED 1939
17 MINUTES

Children from London depart for an unknown destination in the countryside.

BBC broadcaster Lionel Marson.

News | Invasion of Poland

BROADCAST 1939
15 MINUTES

'Germany has invaded Poland and has bombed many towns.'

The British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain leaves No.10 Downing Street.

Britain Declares War on Germany

BROADCAST 1939
13 MINUTES

'This country is at war with Germany' announces the Prime Minister.

King George VI.

King George VI Addresses the Nation

BROADCAST 1939
6 MINUTES

The King calls for courage and faith in the battle ahead.

BBC broadcaster Alvar Lidell.

News | Outbreak of War with Germany

BROADCAST 1939
2 MINUTES

The ultimatum to Germany is due to expire at 11.00am.

A survivor from the SS Athenia talking to journalists on shore after being rescued. © Getty Ima

Survivors Recall the Sinking of the SS Athenia

RECORDED 1939
5 MINUTES

The Battle of the Atlantic begins as the first British ship is sunk by the Germans.

Evacuees in London walking towards the station to catch a train for the countryside. © Getty

Evacuation of Children

RECORDED 1939
3 MINUTES

Teachers and a schoolgirl describe settling down in the country.

Families waving goodbye to evacuees leaving Manchester. © Getty Images.

We Have Been Evacuated

RECORDED 1939
15 MINUTES

Evacuees from Manchester discuss their new lives.

Viscount Halifax giving a speech in a military aircraft hanger.

Our War Aims - Now and After: Viscount Halifax

RECORDED c. 1939
17 MINUTES

The Foreign Secretary speaks after two months of war.

HM Queen Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mother). © Getty Images.

HM Queen Elizabeth Calls on Women

BROADCAST 1939
8 MINUTES

A message of hope and encouragement to the women of Europe.

A group of nurses being interviewed by the BBC.

London Hospitals in Wartime | War Comes to London Voluntary Hospitals

BROADCAST 1939
8 MINUTES

How various hospitals in London prepared for war.

A newspaper vendor in London displays the headlines about Germany's invasion of Poland. © Getty

Prologue to War

BROADCAST 1959
13 MINUTES

Personal memories of the outbreak of World War II.

 German fighter-bomber over Poland. © Getty Images.

When War Came to Poland

BROADCAST 1974
9 MINUTES

A reporter remembers Poland in the summer of 1939.

Documents

Programmes in Wartime Committee document.

Minutes from a Programmes in Wartime Committee Meeting

WRITTEN 1937
2 Pages

What will the BBC's role be during war?

The BBC 'War Book' on air raid warnings.

The BBC 'War Book': Air Raid Warnings

WRITTEN c. 1938
1 Page

Precautions to protect staff from air raids.

The BBC 'War Book' on Variety Programmes.

The BBC 'War Book': Variety Programmes

WRITTEN c. 1938
1 Page

Plans for variety programmes during wartime.

A report on the BBC's defence plans in the event of war.

The BBC 'War Book': Defence

WRITTEN c. 1939
7 Pages

Defence: the Corporation's plans in the event of war.

A memo on how the 'Radio Times' would continue during wartime.

The BBC 'War Book': 'Radio Times'

WRITTEN 1939
1 Page

Plans for the 'Radio Times' during wartime.

Document with instructions for the News Department on the Outbreak of War (page 1 of 2).

Instructions for the News Department on the Outbreak of War

WRITTEN 1939
2 Pages

'This department will have to stand by in a period of comparative chaos.'

 'Radio Times': Programmes for September 3-9.

'Radio Times': Programmes for September 3-9

WRITTEN 1939
1 Page

The front cover of the 'Radio Times' from the pre-war edition.

The Transcript of Neville Chamberlain's declaration of war.

The Transcript of Neville Chamberlain's Declaration of war

WRITTEN 1939
1 Page

Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's broadcast to the nation.

'Radio Times': Programmes for September 4-10.

'Radio Times': Programmes for September 4-10

WRITTEN 1939
1 Page

The front cover of the 'Radio Times' from the wartime revised edition.

Memo Regarding the Protection of Broadcasting House.

Memo Regarding the Protection of Broadcasting House

WRITTEN 1939
1 Page

Are the headquarters of the BBC in danger from an air attack?

Reply to Memo Regarding the Protection of Broadcasting House.

Reply to Memo Regarding the Protection of Broadcasting House

WRITTEN 1939
1 Page

Is there a need to camouflage the headquarters of the BBC?

A BBC memo on gas masks for staff.

Air Raid Defence Scheme

WRITTEN 1939
1 Page

Remember your gas mask.

Galleries

The Rt Hon Neville Chamberlain, MP at a BBC microphone.

Outbreak of War

A collection of photographs from the BBC archives on the outbreak of World War II.

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