After the defeat of France in June 1940, Germany moved to gain air superiority over Great Britain as a prelude to an invasion of Britain. During almost nightly German air raids (known as "the Blitz") on London, the civilian population of the city sought refuge--as shown in this footage--in air raid shelters and in London's subway system (called the "Underground" or the "Tube"). Despite months of air attacks, Germany was not able to destroy Britain's Royal Air Force (RAF). In the fall of 1940, the invasion was indefinitely postponed. The German bombing campaign against Britain continued until May 1941. The Germans ultimately halted the air attacks primarily because of preparations for the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.
The air raid shelter tonight, any night. Here, forty feet down to hoped-for safety, one hundred and twenty persons exist. And from this place a broadcast is sent out to America. So listen America to London underground. "You come down here every night?" "Every night, yes. I, uh, come here, I think, ever since the building, the uh, rather, this dugout was completed." "Ever since it was completed." "Yes, yes." "What time do you come down here?" "Usually about, uh, about an half an hour after the warning has gone." "I like coming down to shelter for I haven't got, got to go to bed so early." "The days in shelter, we've spent a very happy time for Hitler doesn't worry us while we're here." "Can I just say a word to my sister in America? This is Hilda speaking. I'm down in the—Polly too. We're all okay. And we're all one big happy family, and we're all here together. There's Dave, cousin Dave, and Uncle, and Harry, and Dad, and Aunty. How you all keeping there? All right? All right. I'm glad."