The Battle of Britain
As the cold hand of death swept over the remnants of France, British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, orated on the imminent battle that would rage over his homeland and the foreboding struggle for survival that was now facing Britain:
The Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin… The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad sunlit uplands. But if we fail, the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’(Hough, Richard. The Triumph of R.A.F. Fighter Pilots. New York: The McMillan Company, 1971. 9-10).
The Battle of Britain was greatly affected by pre-war circumstances, separated into four phases and carried consequences that would affect the rest of World War II.
The outcome of the Battle of Britain was greatly dependant upon the circumstances, politics and preparedness of each opposing side for the impending battle that was to be fought. The map of Europe was awash in Nazi red as the German army moved closer towards its goal of domination:
Adolph Hitler had conquered almost all of Europe by astute diplomacy, threat or bloody invasion. Wherever he had attacked he had conquered. In May 1940, Germany invaded Belgium, Holland and France. There were short, savage battles. The Luftwaffe swept the skies clear of the enemy, German soldiers and tanks were triumphant. The United States of America, though sympathetic to Britain, was still neutral, and did not believe that the British nation could survive for long. At the headquarters of the British War Cabinet, Winston Churchill gazed at the map of Europe, and what he saw would have chilled the heart of a man with less courage and patriotism than he possessed. To the north and west of Britain was open sea. To the northeast, east and south, the whole of the European coastline - Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium and France – was in German hands. (Hough 11-12).
To Britain, the outlook of the imminent siege of its homeland appeared hopeless. With the enemy surrounding the last stronghold of the Allies, the odds against Britain were extremely in the favor of the opposition:
“Britain not only faced an enemy ten times as powerful as she was on land and more than twice as powerful in the air. Invasion appeared imminent and inevitable. On July 16, Adolf Hitler issued a directive ‘As England despite her hopeless military situation, still shows no sign of willingness to come...