Why the Major Cities of Britain Were Bombed by the Germans in 1940 - 1941

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Why the Major Cities of Britain Were Bombed by the Germans in 1940 - 1941

Immediately after the defeat of France in the June of 1940, Adolf

Hitler gave his generals the orders to organise the invasion of

Britain. This plan was code-named Operation Sealion and its objective

was to land 160,000 German fighters along a forty mile stretch of

south-east England's coast. It was only a few weeks before a large

fleet of vessels was ready for attack. Among them 2000 barges lay

waiting for the go ahead in German, Belgian and French harbours. As

Hitler's generals were concerned about the damage the R.A.F could

inflict upon their armada the invasion was postponed until the British

air force had been annihilated. On 12th August the mass bomber attacks

on radar stations, aircraft factories and fighter airfields began;

This attack was followed by daily raids on Britain, this became the

beginning of the Battle of Britain. Although these plans were drawn up

Hitler was never very keen on them, his lack of enthusiasm caused

their abandonment on October the 12th 1940. Instead of invasion Hitler

switched his efforts to pounding Britain into submission with gruesome

sustained nightly bombing campaign. 'Blitz' the German word for

lightening was applied by the British press to the raids carried out

over Britain in 1940 and 1941. This concentrated direct bombing of

industrial targets and civilian centres began on 7th September 1940

with heavy raids on London and other major cities.

Manchester (marked ('A')












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Censorship of photographs was very common during the blitz.

Photographs were not always censored because they showed death and

disasters of the worst kind, but also because they portrayed the

misery and angst of civilians, and depicted the widening gap between

the ways of life of the working classes in comparison. However all the

censorship could not hide the damage nor repair it and it could not

erase the images of burning and dismembered corpses in the minds of

the people.

Although the people stoically stood shoulder-to-shoulder against the

onslaught, what they suffered was nothing compared to what the Germans

were going to suffer. As Sir Arthur (bomber) Harris said when he had

the new generation of long-range heavy bombers at his disposal

"They have sown the wind, now they will reap the whirlwind".
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