The Battle of Britain took place in the summer of 1940, when the German Luftwaffe launched a frenzied attack first on the RAF, and then on civilians in London. In targeting London, however, Adolf Hitler allowed the overstretched RAF time to rebuild, a shift in policy that ultimately cost him dearly.
BY the summer of 1940, Nazi Germany had acquired control over most of Western Europe and Scandinavia, and Adolf Hitler confidently attacked RAF bases in southern England in August that year.
The stinging rebuff he received surprised him, so he ordered a sustained aerial assault on the civilians of London. His plan was to undermine public morale, and pave the way for ‘Operation Sea Lion’, the invasion of Britain.
The attacks began on the 7th of September, and reached a crisis on Sunday 15th, when 630 British fighter planes battled almost twice as many German aircraft.
After that, the relentless bombing began to ease, and although the air raids on London, dubbed ‘the Blitz’, continued until May the following year, Hitler now knew that Britain’s small but plucky RAF was a match for his Luftwaffe. As Prime Minister Winston Churchill had said, back on 20th August, ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few’.