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Roundtable 25 March 2020 - Coronavirus and the real lessons of the Second World War

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On 25 March 2020, as the Coronavirus crisis intensified and the UK locked down, a group of historians got together for an online roundtable to discuss the government’s emergency response and civil defence strategy during the Second World War - and its relevance to the current crisis. From blackout regulations and public safety communications to emergency field hospitals for Blitz casualties, from the difficulties of volunteer coordination to the emergence of fire fighters as essential “grimy-faced heroes”, the government of the day faced a huge range of logistical and communications challenges.

The discussion showed there are lessons to be learned from the Second World War – just not the “Blitz spirit” lessons that were often invoked in the early days of Coronavirus.

Short edited extracts are above, and you can read the Policy Paper here.


Rosemary Cresswell (Hull)

Barry Doyle (Huddersfield)

Shane Ewen (Leeds Beckett)

Henry Irving (Leeds Beckett)

Mark Roodhouse (York)

Marc Wiggan (Oslo)


Chaired by Alix Mortimer, editing by Andrew McTominey


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