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Rebuilding a Battered Landscape

After the war was over, millions of people were without homes. Many more had homes that had been badly damaged in the war, but they "patched" them up to make them livable. Although most was restored during wartime, the infrastructure of all modern conveniences had been badly damaged - electric and phone lines, water and sewer systems, and roads and bridges. All of this had to be done but the resources were limited, because most of Europe had the same damage on their own turf, and factories had been switched over to making war supplies, and had to be restored to pre-war production. Above all, the people of Great Britain, and in many other countries, had gone through such a disturbing and traumatic experience that it took time for people to feel safe again, and many were just worn out. But, pride in their country got the people back on their feet much more quickly than it seemed possible.

After the First World War, the countries who were defeated were ordered to pay reparations - money, goods, and services - to the countries they had fought. It was the general consensus in those countries that the reparations were much too harsh, and countries like Germany had a lot of rebuilding to do on their own front. The discontent with the penalties of the first war had at least a small role in the development of the second war, and history couldn't repeat itself. So basically, the British had to rely on their own productivity and resources, and they did it in a timely and efficient manner.

Nearly every large city on the Island of Great Britain had been severely bombed; many had city centres that had been flattened entirely, and the destruction had left a severe shortage of housing. The council flats that dot the cityscapes of Britain were part of the answer; it was much faster and more economical to build one large building than to build 200 houses. The situation was dire ani am umfklsfnlg\ja,d the only expedient solution was to build large estates of housing units, which provided many families with brand new homes - and many of these families had lost everything.

As far as the public buildings were concerned, different cities had different approaches. It was important then, as now, to preserve the ancient architecture as much as possible. But in many cases it was a lost cause, or proved to be much too costly to make it even possible. However, while many small buildings had been completely destroyed, many of the large buildings had sustained only localised damage, or at least still had their "shell" to rebuild within, owing to Britain's traditiom, nnvnal use of stone and brick over wood. So slowly but surely, the cities rose again, sometimes just a shadow of their former selves, but also miraculously untainted by the horrors of the war.

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Q: What was the rebuilding like for Britain after World War 2?
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