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Explain the importance of the Battle of Britain as a turning point in the Second World War.

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Introduction

Explain the importance of the Battle of Britain as a turning point in the Second World War The Battle of Britain is represented as one of the major turning points in the war and resulted in Britain winning the war. The heroic character of the pilots and the dedication of the grounds men resulted in the Luftwaffe being held back and the supposed invasion of Britain. However there are two major schools of thought that each have their own opinion of the event. There is the traditionalist view that believes Britain was on the verge of defeat but Britain was saved by the heroic actions of the RAF, the British were out right superior to the Germans who made half hearted attempts at everything and the Battle of Britain was the major turning point in the war and resulted in Germany's defeat. On the other hand there is the revisionist view which believes that Britain was actually rather strong compared to the damming traditionalist view of a "wounded Britain". They also believe that Germanys attack was not at full volume and they were only making a half hearted attack so the Battle was not that significant and Germany's loss of the war was due to other events throughout the war. It is still perceived to be a turning point in the revisionist view but as it was Hitler's first defeat it was not the event which saved Britain but other factors did like the arrival of the USA in the war, causing a more fundamental turning point than the Battle of Britain itself. However throughout this 'Battle' it must be questioned as to whether it was that much of a turning point. This is answered by the question, 'how venerable was Britain in 1940?' After the heavy loss of life and equipment at Dunkirk and the loss of morale at the end of the spell of fighting in France in 1940 Hitler felt that he held an upper hand and that Britain would soon crumble under the increasing pressure and lack of factors to continue with a war. ...read more.

Middle

They often had only around twenty minutes fighting time before they had to return. The result was that the German bombers were often left unprotected on there final bombing run, the most important and venerable part of the attack, and this meant easy prey for the more manoeuvrable British fighters. Bombers were often only protected by weak chain guns compared to the 20mm cannons of such planes as the Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane and this resulted in the bombers being very easy targets. The Luftwaffe's tactics were also to blame for their defeat. There bomber squadrons were sent over in mass formations under the illusion that numbers would create safety. However these mass formations were picked up by Air Marshal Dowdings fifty one radar systems and he was able to know the number of aircraft coming, at what speed and how high. With this knowledge he was able to scramble his fighter aircraft at the exact right time to intercept and at what co-ordinate the aircraft were in. with this knowledge and the German fighters short range the bombers became easy targets. As the battle progressed so did aircraft production, from 270 planes per month in 1940 to just over 500 in the last months of 1940. However the Germans made one vital mistake in there attack of Britain. As the war raged on planes and men were being lost at a rate that they could not be replaced. Planes could be replaced but men could not and the RAF was lacking from experienced pilots. With this increasing problem Marshall Dowding freely admitted that the RAF was only days away from demolition. But Germany made one massive mistake. From her original plan of bombing airfields and radar station the tactics were changed at the last minute to bomb Brittan's major cities in retaliation to Berlin being bombed. This was Germanys last nail in her coffin for the Battle of Britain. ...read more.

Conclusion

By doing this Hitler started a war that he had no chance of winning at all. Russia was much more robust for war, and fought properly instead of Germanys 'intelligent' war which got them in to more bother. This backed by Stalin's five year plans meant that Russia could supply the necessary needs for war quickly and efficiently without the other necessities for a country to exist being sacrificed. With this system, towards the end of the war Russia was producing more tanks a day than the Germans could knock out. Stalin also built his factories and industrial centres many thousands of miles in to Russia protected by the Ural Mountains meaning German troops would have to advance miles before capturing or damaging anything worthwhile that would affect Stalin's war effort. Stalin was very much a stronger and cleverer leader than Hitler throughout the war. By invading Russia Hitler condemned Germany to defeat and this can be seen because 70% of Germany's war loses war experienced on the Eastern front. Other more fundamental turning points include the introduction of America to the war in 1941 after Hitler declared war on her. The result was Britain was packed full of fresh troops with new technology and munitions and supplies to help the effort. Hitler now had to fight to major powers on either sides of his country with increasing loses. The D-Day invasions were a cumulative result of more important turning points combined together to result in one of the major turning points in the war compared against the Battle of Britain. It can be concluded that although the Battle of Britain was a turning point in the war, it was not a major one that inherited massive changes to the worldwide war effort etc. It was a moral booster for the British no doubt, and proved the Germans could be beaten at a critical time, however it was no major turning point in a war that had so much power in it and so much longer to carry on and so much un finished business to finally be finished. Bruce Thomas 11c ...read more.

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