Following on from Public Schools and the Great War, Sir Anthony Seldon and David Walsh now examine those same schools in the Second World War. Privileged conservative traditions of private schools were challenged in the inter-war years by the changing social and political landscape, including a greater role for the alumni of girls’ public schools. What was that public school spirit in 1939 and how did it and its products cope with, and contribute to, the requirements of a modern global conflict both physically and intellectually?
The book answers these questions by, for example, examining the public schools’ role in the development and operations of the RAF in unconventional warfare and code-breaking. At home there was bombing, evacuation and the threat of invasion. Finally, the authors study how public schools shaped the way the war was interpreted culturally and how they responded to victory in 1945 and hopes of a new social order.
This fascinating book draws widely on primary source material and personal accounts of inspiring courage and endurance.