Before we start…
• Some clarification…
To keep in mind…
• Hitler has a to-do list:
– Abolish treaty of Versailles (bigger military, no
– Better pensions and reduced unemployment
(military service is a good way to do that!)
– Gain some “Lebensraum” (living space) for its
surplus of population
– Make sure those who threaten Germany (and
the purity of German people) will not succeed.
(Jewish people, Communists, other races)
• Nazis violently opposed Communism (who
believed private ownership is theft)
• WHY would Germany agree to this?
Despite Allied support, Norway
was conquered within two
months. British discontent
over the Norwegian campaign
led to the replacement of the
British Prime Minister, Neville
Chamberlain, with Winston
Churchill on 10 May 1940.
• “Lightning war” that was a swift, sudden, and overwhelming
• Based on speed and surprise
• Required a military forced based around light tanks and
support planes and infantry
• Decentralized military groups – learning from the mistakes
• First used in WWII by the German army
2. Invaded Norway
on April 9, 1940
May 26, 1940
1. Defeated the
Polish army on
Sept. 1, 1939.
3. Defeated the
French army in
May of 1940.
May 26 & 27 1940
German Military surrounded a half
moon area around Dunkirk, surrounding
about 300K British troops.
On advice from one of his top
Generals, and from the Commander of
the Air Force, Hitler issues a 48 hour
Why would he do this?
Thousands of small boats pleasure
craft and life boats went across
the English Channel to bring back
340 000 troops were evacuated
from Dunkirk after realizing that
they could not escape from
In a matter of months (Paris falls on
June 14th) Hitler was able to control the
vast majority of the continent of Europe
(with help from Italy).
Major devastation to cities
and urban areas in Europe
July 19th Hitler publicly offered to end the war, saying
he had no desire to destroy the British Empire. Britain
rejected this, responding "there was in his speech no
suggestion that peace must be based on justice, no
word of recognition that the other nations of Europe
had any right to self‑determination ..."
"...the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin."
• Since England, despite its militarily hopeless situation,
still has not shown any signs of being prepared to
negotiate, I have decided to prepare a landing operation
against England and, if necessary, carry it out.
• The objective of this operation is to eliminate the English
home country as a base for the continuation of the war
2) Included in these preparations is the bringing about of
those preconditions which make a landing in England
a) The English air force must have been beaten down to
such an extent morally and in fact that it can no longer
muster any power of attack worth mentioning against the
Summer and Fall of1940:
Battle of Br itain center ed ar ound Ger many tr ying to over take Br itain after
Invasion was the ex peditious way to finish off Br itain, but that meant
cr ossing the English Channel; Hitler would not r isk it unless the Br itish air
for ce could be neutr alized fir st. A s a r esult, the Battle of Br itain was fought
in the air , not on the beaches.
In A ugust 1940 the Ger mans launched daylight r aids against por ts and
air fields and in September against inland cities. The objective was to dr aw
out the Br itish fighter s and destr oy them.
• The German plan was to take out the
British air force bases
• September 7, 1940- London and other
large cities were attacked (more on that
in the speech)
• Bombings and attacks were now done at
night because German pilots met
resistance during the day.
A brief digression/background
• At first, the Nazis were just a terrorist group.
• Hitler assembled a large group of unemployed
and hoped to take power by starting a revolution.
• On 9 November 1923, Hitler and his Nazis went
into Munich on what they thought would be a
triumphal march to take power.
• However, police and army reinforcements
arrived. There was a short scuffle in which the
police killed 16 Nazis.
Ultranationalism (don’t forget!)
• Facing struggles in the Battle of Britain
• And amidst constant attacks on Berlin, Hitler
delivers the following
Results of the Battle of Britain
• The enemy of German
aircraft and the friend of
• "Never in the field of human
conflict was so much owed
by so many to so few“
• Exposed flaws in German
command (first defeat)
• Strengthened British