Britain's Victory in the Battle of Britain Essay

Britain's Victory in the Battle of Britain Essay

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Britain's Victory in the Battle of Britain

Following the British evacuation from Dunkirk and the French surrender
in June 1940, the Germans were uncertain what to do next. Hitler
believed the war was over and that the British, defeated on the
continent, would come to terms soon. However, he was to be frustrated
by British intransigence. Though there was a strand of public and
political sentiment that favoured a negotiated peace with Germany,
Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, refused to countenance
an armistice with the Nazis. His skillful use of rhetoric hardened
public opinion against a peaceful resolution and prepared the British
for a long war. In a speech to the House of Commons on 18 June 1940 he
stated: "What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I
expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin."

Britain's rejection of German terms was emphatic. In an effort to
finish the war in the West, Hitler ordered preparation of an invasion
plan on 16 July. He hoped to frighten Britain into peace before the
invasion was launched and used the invasion preparations as a means to
apply pressure. The plan was prepared by the OKW (Armed Forces High
Command). The operation, code-named Seelöwe (Sealion), was planned for
mid-September 1940 and called for landings on Britain's south coast,
backed by an airborne assault. All preparations were to be made by
mid-August.

Sealion was a deeply flawed plan, suffering from a lack of
resources—particularly sea transport—and disagreements between the
German Navy and Army. With the threatening bulk of the Royal Navy
within a day's steaming of the English Channel, it se...


... middle of paper ...


...szko, achieved the highest number of kills
(126) of all the fighter squadrons engaged in the Battle of Britain,
even though it only joined the combat on August 30. To put things in
perspective, 5% of pilots were responsible for 12% of the total scores
of the Battle.

There was also a significant input of Czechoslovak pilots in the
Battle of Britain. Two Czech fighter squadrons, 310 and 312, took part
in the battle. Together with Czech pilots serving in other allied
units, a total of 87 Czechs defended the British sky. Of them, Josef
Frantisek, flying with 303 Polish Squadron, was the most efficient
allied ace of the Battle of Britain, with 17 confirmed kills.

Three squadrons of American volunteers, known as Eagle squadrons, also
fought with the RAF in this period, the first becoming operational in
February 1941.

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