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World War Two: Victory! and afterwards

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Adjustments to everyone's lives after the Second World War

The Second World War had changed people in Britain, men, women and children alike. Adjustments had to be made, and they were not quick or easy.

Adjustments for children

Children frequently did not know their own fathers when they returned from service overseas, and they resented the time and attention that their mothers gave to these 'strangers'.

Adjustments for women

Many women had held positions of responsibility in what had originally been men's jobs. Yet now women were expected to forfeit these jobs to adopt more feminine poses and to be happy looking after homes, cooking, cleaning and caring for their husbands and families. Some women may have welcomed this, but no means all did. A separate page gives more on the propaganda to change women's roles and behaviour.

Some women - following the forced separations from their husbands - had taken up with other men. So there were divorces.

Adjustments for men

Some men - like my father - had had their jobs held open for them throughout the war, but not all were so fortunate. So men had to look for work, and what they found was not always to their liking or did not utilise the new skills that they had learnt. Throughout the war, they had lived and been treated as equals with others of the same rank, but back home again, they found themselves immersed back in the British class system.

Many men returned home to find sons and daughters that they had never seen. Some resented the attention that their wives were giving to these children; some strove for a father-child relationship that was difficult to obtain since the children were no longer babies, and some had to cope with divorces as their wives had taken up with other men during their time apart.

Adjustments for families

Most people - men and women alike - had looked forward to a better standard of living after the war, but rationing and shortages were even more severe.

There were also emigrations, particularly to Australia as men came back with reports of a new and vibrant country where one could make one's way. The cost of passages were subsidised to just £10, so as to increase the population of Australia - and the individuals and families that emigrated under this system became known as "Ten pound Poms".


If you can add anything to this page, I would be pleased if you would contact me.



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