Churchill and the Battle of Brittain

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On June 18, 1940, Prime Minister Winston Churchill was speaking to the British House of Commons when he said “The Battle of France is over. I expect the Battle of Britain is about to begin.” Just the day before, the French signed a peace treaty and were no longer involved with World War II. The Battle of Britain was the air battle between Germany and Britain for control over Great Britain’s air space. This happened during July 1940 to May 1941, with the heaviest fighting from July to October 1940. Winston Churchill was trying to negotiate with Adolf Hitler. The Germans were trying to control the English Channel to invade Britain as part of “Operation Sea Lion”. Once they had control of this Channel, the British Navy could not attack The German barges. The British Navy was headed for Kent and Sussex beaches. Churchill knew he would succeed only if Britain was superior when fighting in the air. It was the British Royal Air Force (RAF) Fighters vs. the German Luftwaffe and for the first time ever, the battle was in the air.
Under the leadership of Air Marshall Hugh Dowding, Britain had strong air command with the trained pilots and superior equipment. The RAF main fighter planes were called Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane. The British had lost some of their best trained fighters in the war against France and they were not replaced but they still remained strong. The Germans, however, had suffered greater losses when they fought in Western Europe.

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