War, State and Society provides access to thousands of documents from the collections of eleven U.K. government departments, each responsible for dealing with and reporting on the domestic situation in Britain during the Second World War and its aftermath. Sourced from The National Archives (U.K.) and the History of Advertising Trust, its files provide a uniquely comprehensive insight into the social, economic, political, and cultural affairs of wartime Britain, and a valuable snapshot of day to day life in every corner of the country and beyond.


This new digital collection allows students and researchers to examine multiple themes and topics from this pivotal moment of social history, and to interrogate the wider impact of modern warfare on civilian populations. It provides access to a wide range of documents, from social surveys and statistical analyses to food offences trials, propaganda film scripts and wartime advertising, as well as a diverse array of voices: from the very top of government to the narratives and testimonies of ordinary citizens.



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This unique collection of primary source material contains reports, surveys, and correspondence from the following U.K. government departments, as well as supporting documentation from dozens of other government bodies, schemes, and public organisations.

  • The War Cabinet
  • Board of Education
  • Foreign Office
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
  • Ministry of Food
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ministry of Home Security
  • Ministry of Information
  • Ministry of Labour and National Service
  • Ministry of Works and Buildings    
  • War Office 

Document Types

War, State and Society provides access to a diverse range of primary sources, voices, and perspectives on wartime life, including:

  • Advertisements, Pamphlets, and Posters
  • Film and Broadcast Transcripts
  • Letters and Statements from the Public
  • Maps, Charts, and Diagrams
  • Meeting Minutes
  • Memoranda
  • Official Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Press Summaries and Publications
  • Reports and Surveys
  • Statistical data

Key Themes

  • Preparations for War and Peace
  • Rationing and Supply
  • Domestic Life
  • Military Activity and Home Defence
  • Evacuation
  • Information Services and Propaganda
  • Bombing and Attacks on the Population
  • Industry and Infrastructure
  • Social Relations
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