Background Events 1

1 September 1939 Germany attacks and invades Poland. On 3 September 1939, bound by treaty obligations, Britain declares war on Germany. France declares war on Germany. The British Expeditionary Force is sent to northern France to support France against Germany. This force includes the 1st Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment. Children are evacuated from London from 1 September.


  • Think and discuss - What do students already know? Make a mind map of existing knowledge of WW2.
  • Set up a visual timeline in classroom - this could in the form of a washing line to which significant dates, events, people etc can be attached. Use different colours for international, national and local events.
  • How did the outbreak of war in 1939 and the first months of the war affect our local area? [Evacuation, conscription, petrol rationing, food rationing, phoney war, Dunkirk, fear of what would happen next, etc]




  • Think and Discuss: What is an invasion? [Think of all the invasions or attempted invasions of Britain they know of - Roman, Danish, Norman] and others they can find out about eg D-Day, Falklands, Kuwait, Iraq, etc
  • What would it be like to be in a country which was invaded? Sights, sounds, smells, feelings, responses.
  • Focus question: Why might the government be concerned about the east coast of England after the outbreak of war?
  • Use google earth and google maps to locate Germany and then to explore the countries bordering on the North Sea. Zoom in until the map shows the coastline between Dunwich and Southwold. Why might the government be particularly concerned about this coast as a possible place for an invasion?