As part of the Radio 4 Blitz season of programmes, Michael Portillo chairs a discussion with leading historians about the strategy and ongoing legacy of Nazi Germany's decision to bomb and destroy Britain's cities. The 7th of September 1940 marks the begining of nine months of aerial bombardment of Britain; an unprecedented seige experience which has been seared into the national psyche. London bore the brunt but Liverpool, Coventry, Plymouth and Belfast were amongst other cities badly damaged. In this discussion the homefront historian Juliet Gardiner, leading expert on Nazi Germany Sir Ian Kershaw and Terry Charman from the Imperial War Museum take a close look at the months leading up to the Blitz to understand Hitler's designs on Britain and how His Majesty's Government began preparing for the massive attack which quickly became an inevitability. We'll hear how volunteer forces were mobilized under extreme circumstances and how the fire service became the frontline fighters of the Blitz.
They'll discuss the true scale of the operation and the damage inflicted and also how it was judged and acted upon both in Hitler's High Command as well as in Churchill's War Cabinet. They'll also examine 'Blitz Spirit' to find out what it really consists of, how it has been reflected in popular culture and how well it is understood today.