July 10, 1940 ~ The Battle of Britain
After the fall of France in June, 1940, Britain knew it was only a matter of time before the Axis powers turned their sights across the Channel.
Then, on July 10, 1940, the German Luftwaffe began the first in a long series of bombing raids in what Winston Churchill first called the Battle of Britain.
The Nazi’ wanted to invade England, their last obstacle to total dominance over western Europe. But first, they needed to destroy the Royal Air Force.
The air campaign that followed was the first of its kind to be fought entirely by air forces.
The Luftwaffe began the campaign attacking coastal shipping convoys and shipping centers.
Then, they shifted the attacks to RAF airfields, factories and infrastructure before finally resorting to attacking British towns and cities.
Although Britain had far fewer fighters than the Germans, their pilots were well trained and well motivated to defend the islands against the Nazi onslaught.
Churchill would describe the heroic efforts of the RAF in a speech he gave on August 20, 1940.
“Never was so much owed by so many to so few”
The campaign of terror would last for three and a half months, but the English people sent a clear message to Hitler that Britain would never surrender.
The Battle of Britain would mark the first defeat of Hitler’s military forces.