United States discussed on Fresh Air

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Maybe you heard the prediction that by mid century US will no longer have a white majority people don't like change in general right and this is a big change to what is a projection wasn't realistic I'm Elsa Chang shifting boundaries of race and how census statistics took on a life of its own this afternoon on All Things Considered from NPR news starting at four on W. NYC this is fresh AIR and we're speaking with author Erik Larsen he has a new book about the leadership and the family life of British prime minister Winston Churchill during his first year in office when **** Germany waged a bombing campaign that killed more than forty four thousand civilians worsens book is the splendid and the vial so the German air war begins with a lot of attacks during the daytime in which the Royal Air Force the British Air Force fighters were pretty effective in knocking down a lot of the aircraft of the German Air Force the Luftwaffe this also presents kind of a show for British citizens they actually watched a lot of this happen right in the sky hello this is one of the fastest things to me I mean there are there are accounts of people who we try to try to picture in one case there is a I believe this is Virginia calls this is the sum of writers and so is lying in the grass on on a on a cliff silent at the at Dover on a beautiful sunny day the channels sparkling below and just give each and the lovely summer day at high up above there is this huge life or death battle between between German fighters and British fights and and the novelty of the students seeing the spiraling contrails high up in the sky watching occasionally as one of these things are just this is Aaron Bower of smoking and playing with them sh crash into the seat was just such an anomalous thing there you are you know in the sense that picnicking on a clifftop as she says you know watching this battle that could determine the fate of civilizations when the Germans went to night bombing how did that change the equation how did it affect the approaches of the German bombers the German fighters and in the British air defenses first of all the germs which to to to night bombing because when they attack my date with their bombers on the the R. A. S. Spitfires and hurricanes very effective at knocking down bombers were quite slow relative to the speed of the of the of the fires check here the Germans were were startled to find one of their aircraft it's the so called Stuka dive bombers which had been this fearsome weapons land campaigns have have proven to be uniquely vulnerable to attack buttons buttons young and and and and very well trained and dynamic British British which pilots so they had to give up daytime bombing and went to my time Bob well the effect of this was that was two two first of all that at night they no longer need fire protection because the the R. F. is essentially affected might want on D. D. the Spitfires and hurricanes the files had had no way of sector okay these farmers in in darkness they had it they had a rough idea because of course status this this wonderful Christian radar system but this was only only affected to appoint because by the time the messages got the control centers about where these planes where the planes obviously had moved on to different locations such so that visual sighting of aircraft was a very important part of how they already asked dealt with farmers and and also with fires at night this visual aspect was was removed so the bombers were now essentially free to total flight over child sex at will this was very important another aspect was that because now they were free to fly over over the results because they no longer needed fighter escorts fighters had very very short operational stamina is simply ninety minutes now the bombers could could could stay up for for far far worse so this is very much changed the dynamic right and made the British industries and public more vulnerable you know that Hitler for several months declined to bomb London because he was still hoping to convince Churchill to see reason and negotiate a peace treaty Churchill was insisting he would take the fight to Germany he had his bombers bomb Berlin and that kind of change things didn't one key element before this before it became more the before Germany began its first deliberate bombing attacks on lunch was it was a mistake most welcome made on August twenty fourth nineteen forty when a group of German bombers thought they were over their targeting not table over central London dropped their bombs and this was the first attack in central London and it was terrible citizens one group selfish that that that for whatever reason they will not this is not going they're not going to be the subject of attack more by get the sh this gave Churchill what he described as the moral the moral right then to turn around and bomb Germany the R. F. as in Barbaro in rather the idea was a little bit lucky to do that as well because the moral consequences what the console for so now suddenly you have this this rapid escalation that leads to on September seventh nineteen forty one first liberty mass intense bombing of the city one so let's talk about these raids on London in some detail on how big were they how many planes would be involved what kind of bombs were dropped hundreds of planes were involved you know it when I was a single radio yeah yeah actually the single rate up to a thousand planes with bombs dispatch from bases along along the French because not all necessarily arriving at the same time but these were these were tremendous tremendous rates when I was doing some research for this book at the bottom St for part of the time and in London one member standing before Mike hotel window just looking out at the last one month trying to imagine what this would have been lives on a beautiful blue knights not at the Oscars on you soon things hundreds of bombers coming over the horizon how how terrifying that most of them she was also the first rate and begins us whatever seven forty the the bombers arrive at at as I as I point out a two time this was a day when otherwise one of this one about their business in a in a very normal life it was a hot day for one just rare hot and sunny market yourself up about ninety degrees the stores in Piccadilly were packed people just living their lives and suddenly suddenly the air raid sirens sound now this by itself was not was not a particular terrifying thing because air raid spirit silence responding all the time all the time but our constable regular basis but now the alarms began the sounds in the afternoons whatever seven nineteen forty you know the first inclination is to say okay this must be just another false alarm this time however incendiary bombs began to fall this with these are typically the first things that the Luftwaffe drop these were meant to set fire to structures so that with once the once the structures began to burn and as night fell these structures would serve as beacons for bombers to follow because she'll never geisha at night it was still a problem for the for the for the German bombers they could they could fly at night readily but that getting to a target at least initial phase and what's required either either moonlights which is very concerning among this was referred to as the bombers more war what also helped was to have these these these structures on fire because they think they guided bombs to the heart so something's instructors are long next time high explosive bombs and the Germans destroyed of underwriting of of of of weapons from trump's smallish high explosive bombs to to to two two giants four thousand pound bombs the two Germans nicknamed Satan these bombs began to fall on the city of London September seventh nineteen forty it also monitors life as they knew it changing right one of the little details that you know we hear the whistling sound that bombs would make as they fall that's not a normal thing for the ones that was added to make them more terrifying right yeah well that yeah the Germans and and then eventually also British adder what you try to as the sort of the Jericho trumpets device attached to catch the bombs to make them howl as the cell which is believed to have to fight the terrorists act similar thing was done by the way to the Stuka bombers on to make them scream as they as they entered their diets which is to be believed to enhance the terror all of those on the ground right you mentioned this but when peoplesoft will moon coming that was even more terrifying right yes I mean the full moon was nice when there was a full moon these were these were deemed to be the next one one okay our rates were most likely to occur because because my own life was very effective in lighting targets below sh on on on on on on nights when there was a full moon circle bomber's moon that's when people most feared what would happen and we're pretty much assured that there would be a great Erik Larsen's new book is the splendid and the vial after a break we'll talk more about Winston Churchill's leadership during the German bombing campaign and some of the ways he inspired citizens and sustain their morale also record reviews a new book from Emily St John Mandel which he says is disturbing but ultimately a farming I'm Dave Davies and this.

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