Europe 1940: Battle of Britain
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.
1 Jul 1940 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.
3 Jul 1940 Operation Catapult▲
Following the fall of France, communications between France and Britain broke down, prompting British fears that the French fleet - the largest capital ship force in Continental Europe - would incorporated into the German Kriegsmarine. To prevent this, a British force approached the major French naval base of Mers-el-Kébir, Algeria, and demanded that the fleet stationed there either join them or disarm. When their ultimatum was rejected, the British attacked, sinking the French battleship Bretagne, grounding the destroyer Mogador, and causing significant damage to a number of other major French vessels.
10 Jul-31 Oct 1940 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.
30 Aug 1940 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.
2 Sep 1940 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.