Battle of Britain

World War II: Blitzkrieg

Europe 1940.0907

Battle of Britain

World War II in Europe from the fall of Poland to Stalingrad (7 September 1940)

Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean

After the French collapse, a pro-German government took power in southern France. Britain was now Hitler's only remaining European enemy. Over the next four months, Germany launched continuous air attacks in an attempt to force the British to come to terms.

Main Events

Vichy Government

Hoping to preserve some autonomy, the French government agreed to allow German military control in the north and west in exchange for civil and military independence in a southern "free zone." In reality, however, the government, now based in the city of Vichy, was a German puppet state.

Operation Catapult

With the Fall of France, the largest capital ship force in Continental Europe fell under German Influence. To prevent the Germany from seizing control of the French fleet, the British Navy and Air Force destroyed much of France's naval armament at Mers el Kebir.

Battle of Britain

In anticipation of a full-scale invasion of Great Britain, the German Luftwaffe began wholesale bombardment of southern and eastern England. However, the advanced British radar systems made it possible for British fighters to intercept the German planes. The ensuing defense convinced Germany to cancel the invasion, though frequent bombing runs continued.

Second Vienna Award

With the assurance of French protection lost, Romania was forced to cede Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to the Soviet Union. It then appealed to Germany for military protection. Germany agreed, on the condition that Romania cede Transylvania to Hungary.

Destroyers for Bases Agreement

The United States and the United Kingdom signed the Destroyers for Bases Agreement, agreeing to the immediate transfer of fifty mothballed Caldwell, Clemson, and Wickes-class US Navy destroyers from the US Navy to the Royal Navy. In exchange, the British gave the US land rights for air and naval bases in the British possessions of Newfoundland, the Bahamas, Jamaica, British Guiana, and the Leeward and Windward Islands. The US also gained air and naval base rights in the Great Sound and Castle Harbour, Bermuda, and the south and eastern coasts of Newfoundland.

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