• Hitler’s belief: after Norway, Denmark, Poland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland and France fell into German hands, Britain would only naturally be so scared after being thrown out of Europe that it would beg for surrender.
  • Two options:
  • Limited military action, propaganda and political warfare
  • An actual invasion
  • July 10, 1940: Operation Sea lion – an invasion of Britain


  • To carry out a naval invasion, Germany had to control the air – they began to attack southern England and attempt to hit British morale
  • Luftwaffe advantage: 1,300 bombers and dive bombers plus 1,200 single/twin engine fighters
  • Britain: 600 planes
  • Britain: more prepared and ready defensively
  • Use of radar: adequate notice of where and when to direct forces
  • British Spitfire – extremely effective at shooting down German bombers
  • Series of events:
  • Mid July: intensive aerial attacks of channel ports and straits and ground bombing of Dover area – English have to pull large warships out of the channel
  • August: bombing raids (1,500 planes a day) directed against British fighter airfields and radar stations
  • September: British retaliates with bombing raids on Berlin

Attack on cities

  • Hitler: calls the Berlin bombing an act of terrorism – orders the bombing of London, Liverpool, Birmingham
  • Sept. 7, 1940: 950 German bombers attacked London during the day (300 dead, 1,300 wounded) and then every night for the next 57 nights(30,00 dead, 50,000 wounded).
  • Millions of mothers, children, patients, elderly evacuated to countryside

Surviving the Blitz

  • Londoners would:
  • Adopt a business as usual attitude (high morale)
  • Have nightly blackouts
  • Sleep/ hide out in the underground subways
  • Drive at night without lights
  • Go to work during the day
  • Send loved ones to the country
  • Volunteer for domestic defence positions
  • Wait at home until it was over
  • Sept. 15, 1940: 1,700 German planes attack during the day. RAF (Royal Air Force) planes met them and the air was filled with aerial combat
  • Sept. 17, 1940: Operation Sea lion was postponed indefinitely.  While bombing continued until May 1941, an all out invasion of Britain never occurred. Instead, Hitler turned east, to the USSR

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