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To what extent was the defeat of the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain a blow from which Nazi Germany could not recover?

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Introduction

'The defeat of the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain was a blow from which Nazi Germany could not recover'. To what extent do you agree with this statement? Hitler's initial intentions for the Battle of Britain were to force the British into accepting peace terms; he was reluctant to invade Britain, who he saw as Germany's natural allies. The strategy for the invasion of Britain and the Battle of Britain, named 'Operation Sea Lion' was a confused, drawn-out process, which was to see Germany fail for the first time during their campaign. This had led many to argue that 'the defeat of the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain was a blow from which Nazi Germany could not recover.' However, this is a debated and controversial view. There is evidence to support the above claim; neither Hitler nor Germany had expected a defeat for their military forces. After three successful and quick campaigns in France, Poland and Czechoslovakia, Britain was not a major threat or invasion priority for Germany. They were determined to expand their empire east, so focused more attention on the invasion of Russia. However, this is not to say that Britain did not pose any threat to Germany. The British Empire was to be a key force in the war, and it is arguable that the victory of the RAF restored confidence in the allied operation. ...read more.

Middle

Furthermore, the change of tactics to the Blitz allowed the Commander of RAF Fighter Command, Dowding, to recoup and make good use of the excellent British production: therefore quickly rebuilding the RAF. In contrast, it was not until 1944 that production levels in German aircraft reached required output levels. This undoubtedly hampered the Luftwaffe strength subsequent to this stage in the war. Consequently, the failure of future German military campaigns can be attributed to the Luftwaffe defeat in the Battle of Britain, which had destroyed much of the essential air force. Not only had the success of the RAF proved that the Nazi's could be defeated, therefore damaging German morale, it also severely weakened the physical strength of the German air force. Losses of aircraft and experienced aircrew meant that campaigns such as the attempt to take over North Africa and the Suez Canal was not as successful as it may have been had the Luftwaffe at been at full force. However, it may be dangerous to over-emphasise the impact of the failure of the Battle of Britain on the overall Nazi strategy. Not only was Britain a small priority for Hitler, the Luftwaffe continued to launch attacks on Britain in 'The Blitz'. This can be seen as a particular success for Germany with an estimated 30,000 casualties and three and a half million British homes destroyed. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is evidence to suggest that the failure of Germans on the Russian Front had a much larger impact on the final outcome of the war. With 9 out of 10 German servicemen killed on the Eastern front, it can be argued that it was the Russians who succeeded in determining the outcome of the war. In conclusion, there is argument that other factors were more important in determining the ultimate outcome of the war. The eventual allies of the Russian and US armies were more significant than British forces in winning the war. However, at the time, Britain was the only opponent against the Germans and the RAF success was extremely significant in restoring confidence in the Allied nations, not only in other countries but also in the British people. With German aircraft outnumbering the British one to two and the strength of the vastly experienced Luftwaffe pilots, it is arguable that Germany should have defeated Britain. It is in this sense that it can be argued that the Battle of Britain was a loss from which the Luftwaffe never recovered; there had been the first defeat of Hitler's military forces, the 'few' had managed to overcome the might of the Luftwaffe. This was an embarrassing, damaging and unexpected loss which the Luftwaffe was not able to recover from or forget. Rebecca Titus-Cobb ...read more.

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