A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46


No. 58
Daily Report on MORALE
Thursday, 25th July, 1940

There is little change in morale: people are cheerful and determined. “There is nothing wrong with the morale of the man in the street” is a common observation in our reports.

Beaverbrook's vigorous broadcast was generally appreciated and favourable comments on Dorothy Thompson's broadcast continue to be received.

Middle-class opinion waits for the Government to implement the promises given about defeatist talk prosecutions, aliens policy and the war zone courts.

Good reports continue to be received about the conduct of the public during air-raids.

Reports from factories show how great is the political ignorance and unresponsiveness of many young women workers.




25.7.40 .

Comments that the Budget is too timid come from Leeds, Cardiff and Reading, and that it does not face up to the problem of increased expenditure in munitions and supply, from Manchester. A Bristol reaction is that “we're going to win, so pay we must.”, but there is a feeling in Scotland that the new tobacco tax will be hard on serving soldiers.

Six regions report that Beaverbrook's broadcast was very welcome. His newsy style is contrasted favourably with drearier broadcasts, and the report of progress was comforting. Newcastle says it has created greater determination.

1. NORTHERN (Newcastle) Several centres suggest that permanent assistants should be appointed to clean and ventilate public shelters in constant use. Criticism in industrial centres of tea ration.

2. NORTH-EASTERN (Leeds) Coastal areas not yet bombed seem to fear air raids more than invasion. S. Yorkshire Coalfield feels Premier is curbed by Conservative Party machine. Leeds Co-op. Party have moved resolution demanding removal of ‘appeasers’ from Government. Feeling in Bridlington-Hull areas that farmers should be compelled to put obstacles in flat fields.

3. NORTH-MIDLAND (Nottingham) Relief at Premier's statement on sentences for careless talk. Criticism in organised labour of selection of L.D.V. officers. Demand for sanitary arrangements where shelters are much in use, and for more village shelters. Dorothy Thompson's broadcast much appreciated.

4. EASTERN (Cambridge) Plight of coastal towns becomes increasingly acute and tradesmen badly affected. Opinion expressed that Hitler's invasion plans may be postponed until he has secured oil supplies. Tendency towards false sense of security seems likely to grow.

6. SOUTHERN (Reading) Some anxiety on broader aspects of Government policy due to Press articles demanding aggressive ideological lead. Restlessness among non-politically minded manifests itself as demand for offensive action. Abandonment of silent column has stemmed criticism against Government. Suggestion that Dorothy Thompson's broadcast should be issued as a leaflet.

7. SOUTH-WESTERN (Bristol) Freedom from raids having good effect on peoples' nerves. The homeless in Plymouth, due to raids, taking the troubles in good part. Strong element of disaffection reported from Forest of Dean. General satisfaction at review of gossip sentences and internment of aliens. Complaints of flooding in Anderson shelters.

8. WALES (Cardiff) News that a plane has been brought down off Welsh coast has had excellent effect. General approval of M.P.s seeking safeguards for citizens in new War Court legislation. Heavy manual workers feel they deserve consideration in tea rationing. Insular indifference to Balkan situation.

9. MIDLAND (Birmingham) Criticism that a month is too long between air casualty announcements. Marked attention throughout the area to the position of C.O.s Communists trying to work through “the League of Reconciliation.” Wide appreciation of Dorothy Thompson's broadcast.

10 NORTH-WESTERN (Manchester) Evidence that indifference to news about air raids, and a false sense of security are growing. More talk of holidays. Some consider the Chancellor of the Exchequer afraid of Labour.

11. SCOTLAND (Edinburgh) Further complaints from Montrose and Peterhead that enemy bombers are coming over unchallenged by sirens or fighters. Anderson's war courts still little understood. Complaints of delay in getting shelters from Peterhead and Kincardine. Few complaints about tea ration. Dorothy Thompson's broadcast popular.

12. SOUTH-EASTERN (Tunbridge Wells) Belated announcement of loss of “Lancastria” increases mistrust in Government news, and some people have stopped listening to bulletins. Annoyance that B.B.C. refers to “Herr” Hitler and “Signor” Mussolini. Report that Local Authorities have made no provision to help cases of hardship in Hastings due to evacuation order.

13 NORTHERN IRELAND (Belfast) More authentic news asked for, in view of rumours of enemy activities round the coast. Premier's Silent Column statement puzzled many, coming in middle of Ulster's anti-gossip week. Some nervousness about coal supplies. Aluminium collection still going forward under Government stimulus.




Unemployment growing in many districts owing to closing down of luxury trades. New depressed areas springing up and munitions factories insufficient to absorb idle workers. Chief problem: women who cannot leave districts because of family ties to seek work elsewhere. Budget considered by City “indeterminate” and business men complain that they cannot formulate plans. Wealthy people with big obligations badly hit; making desperate efforts to keep workers employed in spite of reduced business; capital tied up and assets becoming liabilities. Opinion expressed in City that business recovery after war will be very slow. Silent Column campaign “completely answered by P.M. in House” conclude many people. New comments made on descriptions of convoy air raids. “Why should we send only a few fighters to meet forty or fifty German planes? if we sent more the destruction of enemy aircraft would be greater; begin to wonder if we have enough aeroplanes to meet such attacks." Lord Beaverbrook's talk has drawn favourable comments; people appreciate his “virility”. Dorothy Thompson's talk still praised to-day and suggestions made that it should be translated and used in foreign broadcasts. Great need expressed for music and marching songs to give people stimulation and outlet for their feelings. Stepney Evening Institutes report local dismay at sudden internment of class C alien men and still more at internment of alien born men, living in London since before last war; petition sent by both Gentiles and Jews. Educational plight of Stepney reported; emergency schools providing half time education now open but attendance slight. Children having to cross dangerous Commercial Road to attend school being kept at home. Ignorance reported among people in Deptford and Greenwich areas of conditions in country, especially in Wales where children are evacuated.

We use cookies to track usage and preferences.

Privacy & Cookie Policy Accept & Close