Author(s): Maureen Waller
London at the outset of war in 1939 was the greatest city in the world, the heart of the British Empire. The defiant capital had always been Hitler's prime target and 1945, the last year of the war, saw the final phase of the battle of London. The Civil Defence could not have succeeded without the spirit, courage, resilience and co-operation of the people. London 1945 describes how a great city coped in crisis, how morale was sustained, shelter provided, food and clothing rationed, and work and entertainment carried on.
Then, as the joy of VE Day and VJ Day passed into memory, Londoners faced severe shortages and all the problems of post-war adjustment. Women lost the independence the war had lent them, husbands and wives had to learn to live together again, and children had a lot of catching up to do.
The year of victory, 1945, represents an important chapter in London's - and Britain's - long history.