Why Did Britain Win the Battle of Britain?

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By the summer of 1940, the Germans under Hitler dominated most of Europe. His one remaining active enemy—Britain, under a new prime minister, Winston Churchill—vowed to continue fighting. Whether it could was debatable. The British army had left most of its weapons on the beaches at Dunkirk. Britain stood alone as Russia led by Stalin had signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler and the U.S. A. although shocked by the fall of France and sympathetic to Britain, was against getting into the war.

The Germans hoped to subdue the British by starving them out. In June 1940 they undertook the Battle of the Atlantic, using submarine warfare to cut the British overseas lifelines. The Germans had submarine bases in Norway and France. At the start of World War II  Germany only had 28 submarines, but more were being built — enough to keep Britain in danger until the spring of 1943. This was arguably more effective than the effects of the German air campaign.

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Invasion was the only way to defeat Britain. This involved crossing the English Channel. Hitler would not risk crossing the Channel unless the British air force was defeated first. As a result, the Battle of Britain was fought in the air, not on land as all previous wars had been fought. In August 1940 the Germans launched daylight raids against ports and airfields, and in September against inland cities like London, Coventry, Bristol, Plymouth and Liverpool. The objective was to draw out the British fighters and destroy them. It was hoped by Hitler that these raids on civilian targets would ...

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