• GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • FRANKISH KINGDOM
  • JOHANNES REUCHLIN
  • THE WEIMAR CONSTITUTION
  • W
  • INFLATION, REPARATIONS, AND
  • THE STRESEMANN ERA, 19231929
  • STABILIZATION AND LOCARNO,
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  • ROAD TO DICTATORSHIP,
  • T
  • CONSOLIDATION OF POWER
  • THE NAZI TOTAL STATE
  • ULRICH VON HUTTEN
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  • W
  • THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
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  • THE HOLOCAUST
  • A
  • ALLIED PLANS AND CONFERENCES
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  • T
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  • R
  • CONSEQUENCES AND PROBLEMS OF
  • ECONOMIC UNIFICATION,
  • P
  • RENAISSANCE ART
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  • FOREIGN POLICY
  • GOVERNMENT AND ELECTIONS,
  • HISTORICAL DICTIONARY A
  • A
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  • B
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  • ANABAPTISM AND MÜNTZER
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  • blank check
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  • C
  • Brauchitsch, Walther von
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  • THE THIRTY YEARS WAR
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  • Bundesrat
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  • LITERATURE
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  • POLITICAL PARTIES UNPREPARED
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  • A REPUBLIC PROCLAIMED
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  • EBERT MAKES A DEAL WITH THE
  • THE SPARTACISTS
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  • A VENGEFUL PEACE
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  • THE GOALS OF THE PEACEMAKERS
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  • DENUNCIATION AND RELUCTANT
  • GERMANIC MIGRATIONS AND
  • Britain, Battle of

    lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.5pt;font-family:"Meridien-Medium","serif"; color:black'>(1940)

    The Battle of Britain was a massive air battle

    fought during 1940 in the British skies between

    German and British aircraft to determine air

    superiority over Britain before a German invasion

    could be launched.

    The conflict between the Royal Air Force

    (RAF) and the German Air Force (Luftwaffe)

    occurred over Britain between July 10 and

    October 31, 1940. In mid-July the Germans

    began probing attacks on coastal towns and

    shipping but then began their serious attack on

    August 13, 1940. The Germans called their air

    assault Adlerangriff. Reichsmarshal GÖRING had

    collected some 2,500 planes in three air fleets.

    The first was under Field Marshal Albert Kesselring,

    the second was under Field Marshal Hugo

    Sperrle, and the third was under General Hans-

    Jürgen Stumpff. The Germans had an initial

    force of more than 1,300 bombers and 1,200

    fighters. The German plan had as its priority the

    destruction of RAF planes and the airfields. They

    counted on surprise, but this was denied them

    by the British development of radar and the

    ULTRA intelligence system, which helped the

    British effectively concentrate their planes. The

    RAF was under the command of British Air

    Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, who had only 660

    operational fighters in 52 squadrons. The British

    were at a decided disadvantage, being outnumbered

    by a ratio of 3 to 1.

    On August 13, 1940, the Luftwaffe made

    1,000 fighter sorties and 485 bomber runs, losing

    45 aircraft to the British 13. Two days later,

    it made 1,266 fighter sorties and 520 bomber

    runs, losing 75 planes. As the Germans continued

    to meet fierce resistance, they switched to

    heavy attacks on air bases between August 24

    and September 5. Large bomber formations

    escorted by 100 fighters forced their way through,

    damaging air fields, communications, and control

    centers. In this phase the Luftwaffe almost broke

    the RAF by destroying about 450 planes, killing

    103 pilots, and wounding another 128. The

    planes and pilots could not be rapidly replaced

    so a serious crisis faced the RAF.

    What saved Britain was Hitlers decision to

    seek revenge for the British bombing of BERLIN.

    Interestingly, the Germans had bombed London

    by mistake and the British responded by an

    attack on Berlin. The Germans then decided to

    concentrate on bombing London, which was

    called the Blitz. While this was going on, the

    British repaired their airfields and regrouped.

    The climax of the battle fell on September 15,

    when 56 German planes were destroyed. The

    German plans for an invasion were postponed,

    and the Germans resorted to indiscriminate

    bombing of larger cities, especially London. Ger-

    294 Britain, Battle of

    man daylight attacks declined, with the last one

    occurring on September 30. During the 12-week

    battle 1,389 German aircraft were destroyed,

    while the British lost 792 aircraft.

    Churchill immortalized the Battle of Britain

    with his finest hour speech. Churchill honored

    the pilots of Fighter Command when he said,

    Never in the field of human conflict was so

    much owed by so many to so few.

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