At 11.10 a.m. on 3 September 1939, Premier Neville Chamberlain told R. A. Butler, Under Secretary of State at the Foreign Office, to inform the Service Departments that they ‘might consider themselves at war’ with Germany. The British people heard the same news from the tired, despairing voice of the Prime Minister, broadcasting at 11.15 on that same Sunday morning. Many who heard Chamberlain felt a mixture of fear and relief. The fear was born of the widespread expectation that massive aerial bombardment would shortly follow a declaration of war. The relief stemmed from the end of the uncertainty which had prevailed from at least March 1939.
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