新视野大学英语2读写教程课文原文unit 10 Narrow Escape
Please listen to a short passage carefully and prepare to answer some questions.
Listen to the tape again. Then answer the following questions with your own experiences.
1) Why was the Nazi air force repeatedly bombing London?
2) Discuss some ways the people of England coped with the suffering of this time.
3) Do you think the English people considered giving up? Why didn't they?
Reports on Britain Under the Bombs
Night after night, in the hot summer and early fall of 1940, a deep, steady voice came over the Atlantic Ocean from England to America, telling of England's battle for survival under the waves of German bombers. This strong and steady voice, an American voice with a slight accent of North Carolina, belonged to Edward R. Murrow, head of the European staff of the Columbia Broadcasting System.
"This is London," said Murrow, while the bombs fell and flames spread on the streets of the city. His voice had a tone of sorrow for the suffering of that ancient city, and a tone of confidence, too — a feeling of belief that London would be there, no matter what it had to endure. It could not be destroyed.
The heavy raids began in the middle of August, and Nazi bombs started to fall along England's Channel Coast. The German bombers cast dark shadows over the white cliffs of Dover, and England's Home Guard prepared to fight on the beaches, on the cliffs, and in the hills, until the last Englishman died or the invaders were driven off.
Air Marshal Goering's bomber pilots were sure of their ultimate triumph over England. Hitler and Goering believed that when London became a burned city like Warsaw and Rotterdam, England would surrender.
But the English were more fortunate than the Poles in Warsaw and the Dutch in Rotterdam. They had the English Channel as a barrier against the Nazi ground forces, and they had the Royal Air Force (RAF) to battle the Nazis in the sky.
The hardships of London really started in the first week of September, when Hitler was at last convinced that the English did not intend to give in. On September 7, 1940, nearly four hundred German bombers hammered the city with bombs in broad daylight. Marshal Goering boasted, "This is the historic hour when our air force for the first time delivered its bombs right into the enemy's heart."
Fires burned, houses fell, gas pipes burst, and dark smoke rose from the streets. Men, women, and children felt the effect of the bombs. Radar sirens wailed, ambulances rushed from one place of agony to another, and fire fighters faced the flames hour after hour.
It seemed impossible for any city to take so much punishment and continue to endure. It seemed impossible for people of the city to do their daily jobs, to work and eat and sleep and carry on the business of life, with the crash of bombs all around them and planes spitting fire in the skies above.
But the city endured. Trains brought commuters in from the suburbs. Buses bumped along the streets. The fires were brought under control. Bottles of dairy milk arrived in door ways, and women took them in, as though the war were a thousand miles away. Newspapers appeared and people bought them, hurrying to work and reading reports of the battle raging over London.
And Edward R. Murrow went on the air, saying in his deep, steady voice, "This is London." He spoke as though nothing could ever keep him from saying those words. He did not speak them with any attempt to sound heroic. He simply voiced the quiet truth of the city's existence.
Murrow knew that Britain's fate depended upon the resolution of the people in the shops and streets, the men in the pubs, the housewives, those watching for fire on the roofs, the people who had a thousand difficult and painful things to do.
Much depended upon the handful of pilots who rose day after day and night after night to meet the flocks of Nazi bombers. The pilots in the RAF reached the limits of exhaustion and then went beyond those limits, still fighting.
But the people of London were also in the front lines, and they did not have the satisfaction of being able to fight back. They couldn't reach up and smash the enemy planes. They had to dig quickly in cellars to rescue their friends who had been buried underneath the wreckage. They had to put out endless fires. They had to stand firm and take whatever the enemy threw at them.
In a broadcast on October 1, 1940, Murrow declared: "Mark it down that these people are both brave and patient, that all are equal under the bomb, that this is a war of speed and organization, and that whichever political system best provides for the defense and decency of the little man will win."
Murrow's projection of eventual victory for the ordinary people proved to be accurate. The Nazi powers were finally defeated by the Allied nations.