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Why Were The Major Cities of Britain Bombed by the Germans in 1940-41?

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Introduction

Why Were The Major Cities of Britain Bombed by the Germans in 1940-41? During the summer of 1940, British civilians were involved for the first time in a full scale war since the English Civil War. Ludendorf's theory of total war saw every civilian opposed to your side as a potential soldier and therefore, a target. This, along with the fact that precision bombs (e.g.:- laser guided smart bombs) hadn't been invented, meant that there was a large amount of civilian casualties on the British home front. By 1940, the German forces had quickly swept through Europe. Within a few months of the start of the war, they dominated Europe. Surely the British would see that they had no chance and would surrender to the Nazis. However, Churchill's speech stating that Britain would never surrender and would fight the Nazis to the last man put paid to any notions Hitler had of making peace. If Britain wouldn't surrender, Hitler had no choice but to try and take Britain by force. ...read more.

Middle

The RAF was now on the verge of destruction; some say only twenty-four hours away from being completely wiped out. However, the German Air Marshal Herman Goering did not realise this and switched the bombing target to the English capital city London. This gave the RAF time to rest and to repair it's radar stations and aircraft. Had Goering not made this mistake, Britain would surely have been conquered like the rest of Europe. Hitler guessed that the British workers were poised on the brink of revolution as they were fed up with the war and the prospect of being bombed into submission by the German Luftwaffe night after night. He thought that to push them over the edge, he'd mount a huge air assault on the populous worker cities of Coventry and Birmingham. Although in times of war, strikes were made illegal, if the British Government didn't have it's workers on it's side, they might as well admit defeat. The German attack on the cities of Coventry and Birmingham was codenamed 'Operation Moonlight Sonata'. ...read more.

Conclusion

To raise their morale, the Home Secretary, the Minister of Aircraft Production and even King George VI visited the town, encouraging the citizens to rebuild the city as quickly as possible and announced that arrangements had been made to evacuate 10,000 people from the city. However, morale was raised so much that in the end, only 300 people had left. While many people had been killed and injured, this was a huge psychological victory over Hitler as it proved that he could not crush the British civilians' spirits. His attack had achieved the opposite of what he had endeavoured to do by raising the morale of the workers who, by now, were nowhere near the brink of revolution. To conclude with, the four main reasons behind the German bombing of British cities in 1940 were firstly, to destroy the British industry that was keeping the British Army, Navy and Air Force in play. Secondly, to destroy British dockyards to tie in with the second phase of Operation Sea Lion. Thirdly, to frighten and demoralise the people of Britain (hence the phrase 'Terror Bombing'), particularly the workers, into not working or even rebellion. Finally, as a means of revenge for the British bombing of Berlin. ...read more.

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