Tweeting The Second World War... In Real Time

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 106 months ago
Tweeting The Second World War... In Real Time

War Cabinet to meet at 1830 BST. New Prime Minister Winston Churchill to make statement to House of Commons at around 1400 BST10:09 AM May 13th via HootSuite

Staffers at the National Archives in Kew are undertaking the mammoth task of Tweeting the events of the Second World War in real-time.

Belgian Ambassador complains British troops moving through Brussels which his government has declared an open city AM May 14th via HootSuite

Packing in several tweets per day, many with links back to archived Cabinet Paper documents from the era, the feed has been running since the turn of the year, with only a short, politically mandated break during Purdah. Currently, the German Blitzkrieg is overwhelming France and the Low Countries, and Britain is contemplating the "collapse" of its Gallic neighbour. Meanwhile, new Prime Minister Winston Churchill has authorised airstrikes along the Ruhr, but warns his cabinet that Britain can "expect to be hit in return".

British occupation of Iceland proceeding. Small force sent North to occupy aerodrome PM May 16th via HootSuite

The frequency of the updates, and the sometimes mundane, sometimes critical developments they inform on, has the effect of painting detail into an era often depicted in broad brushstrokes and hindsight-laden truisms. The contemporary angle removes any notion that what happened during the War was inevitable; there's a palpable sense, particularly in mid-1940, before the United States was involved and pre-Barbarossa and the end of the Molotov-Ribbentrov pact, that Germany would succeed.

Cabinet meets for a second time. Chamberlain proposes near "totalitarian" powers for government in event of France's fall AM May 14th via HootSuite

Watch the war unfold at @UKWarCabinet.

Last Updated 19 May 2010