The Ministry of Information compiled daily reports on the state of morale in the country, paying particular attention to the reaction of the man in the street to events in the war:
Tuesday, 6th August, 1940
The Prime Ministers leadership is unchallenged but evidence suggests that there is no such close identification between the people and the Government as a whole. There are comments which suggest that the people ore not fully informed about Government policy and they do not consider themselves closely in touch with it. Grumbling at personal discomforts and wartime dislocation is low but there is vague and somewhat bewildered criticism of Government activity.
Reports show that press criticisms have confused the mind without disturbing it seriously. Verbatims show this: ‘I suppose something behind it all’, ‘There’s something hidden but I don’t know what it is’ , ‘I wish there were a few more men like Winston’, ‘Does the Government what it’s doing ‘At the same time there is confidence in the armed forces, especially the Navy and the Air Force,and there is evidence of increasing satisfaction at the state of our land defences.
The siren controversy continues. From various regions come reports showing concern that people do not take cover in the daylight raids, and there is some evidence that taking cover is ceasing to have the sanction of public opinion.
Points from Regions
The regional reports continue to endorse the value of the Prime Minister’s warning against complacency about invasion, and some suggest that this complacency is still not yet removed. Leeds the warning is timely.
Cambridge states that there is danger that the warning has not been fully driven home; over-optimism is still general except in parts where bombing has been heavy. Reading welcomed the statement as an antidote to the growing unimaginative complacency, adding that the complacency is not yet destroyed.
Many people argue that we are now so well prepared that Hitler will hardly dare to attack, and the Dover success has encouraged hopes that our air defence will be able to deal with the enemy.
Plans to make Home Guard a second line army are popular. Many people anticipate a blitzkrieg’ next weekend. Confusion about who is to ring church bells in the event of invasion is still prevalent. Many reports of dissatisfaction with local leadership of Home Guard. Shop assistants who had to work over Bank Holiday are upset because many large munition works in the Region closed down.
See TNA INF 1/274