An evolving response
in French children under the Allied bombs, 1940–45
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For many civilians, including young children, bombing became a part of daily life. This chapter shows how children adapted to repeated bombing, revealing many of them as active participants and decision-makers within society. As bombing evolved, routines had to adapt. People switched shelters as air raids worsened, depending on local resources. The upheaval of nocturnal commuting was disturbing, and depended on available resources and finances, but it enabled families to get enough sleep to function more normally, and gave people a sense of protecting themselves. As Allied bombing policy developed, so did the way that the French State and municipalities met the challenge; families and individuals also adapted behaviour. Emotional responses of excitement, fear, anxiety and shock existed in all of the locations, pointing towards a universality of qualitative experience, because of common ways of processing the sensory impressions of bombing and the emotional states they engendered.


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