The Battle of Britain Details: • After Dunkirk, Hitler knew he would not be able to attack Britain without gaining control of the English Channel. • To get control of the Channel, he ordered his Luftwaffe to get control of the air first, by bombing aircraft factories, airfields and radar stations in Britain. • Once he had control of the air, he believed he would be able to launch a successful invasion of Britain by sea. • He called this plan “Operation Sea Lion”.
Battle of Britain • After the fall of France, Hitler turned his attention to his next target: Britain • July 10 – October 31, 1940 (continues until May 1941) • British airspace (and German) • Allies: Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) • More than 100 Canadian pilots flew in fighter operations and 200 more in bombing raids • Axis: Germany’s Luftwaffe
Battle of Britain • ‘Operation Sea Lion’: weaken Britain’s defences to prepare for a land invasion; take control of the air • Phase 1: bomb Britain’s coastal defences and knock out early warning radar system • Phase 2: bomb airfields and destroy the RAF • Phase 3: “The Blitz” – lasted 57 days (bombing of London) • Phase 4: continued bombings
Battle of Britain • Targeted strategic targets – factories, airfields and radar stations; • Luftwaffe = 2500 planes; RAF = 1200 planes and short of trained pilots and experienced ground crew • British had several advantages: superior radar system and assistance from Allied, countries, such as Canada • Pilots, radar personnel, replacement aircraft, etc. • 100+ Canadian pilots flew in fighter operations; • 220+ Canadian pilots flew in bombing raids. HOWEVER, BRITAIN WAS STILL LOSING THE WAR!! UNTIL.......
A German bomber accidentally bombed London. • In response, the British bombed............BERLIN – Hitler's beloved capital city!! • IMPACT: • Hitler had actually been misinformed by his staff that enemy planes would never be able to reach Berlin. • When the Brits made it there, Hitler was FURIOUS!!! • He ordered the Luftwaffe to redirect attacks from strategic sits to London and other cities – this was called "THE BLITZ". • By October the Germans realize the RAF can’t be beaten and ‘Operation Sea Lion’ is cancelled • 43,000 killed (many British civilians) and 50,000 buildings destroyed
Battle of Britain – Hitler's 2nd Mistake • The battle becomes Hitler’s 2nd mistake (the first was Dunkirk): switching from defensive targets to civilians – he let his emotions take over. • Only battle to be fought entirely in the air • Prevented Germany from taking Britain
The Battle of Britain – the Blitz – How was it a fatal mistake? • The Blitz gave the British RAF an opportunity to rebuild because the target changed. • By May of 1941, it was obvious that the Luftwaffe was not going to be successful.
Hitler Turns on the Soviet Union – Operation Barbarossa • With the impending failure of Operation Sea Lion, Hitler turned his attention to a different target. • Since he already had control of the West (with the exception of Britain), he decided he was going to focus on the EAST. • Problem: the Soviets were in the East, and they were supposed to be allies! (the Nazi-Soviet Aggression Pact)
Operation Barbarossa – the Invasion of the Soviet Union When? • Began on June 22, 1941 Where? • Eastern Front: German-Russian border Who was Involved? • Germany (Hitler) and the Soviet Union (Stalin)
Invasion of Russia • Hitler and Stalin signed the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact in August 1939; remained suspicious of each other • On June 22, 1941 Hitler attacks the Soviet Union with 3 million troops and 3000 tanks; ‘Operation Barbarossa’ • Hitler believed Russia would surrender within 6 wks • Russians fought the Germans using a “scorched earth” policy; as the Red Army retreated, they destroyed everything that could be of use to the advancing enemy
Invasion of Russia • Hitler’s decision to pour troops into a second front in the east would prove to be decisive for the Allies • Splits German forces and Soviet Union joins the Allies • The winter of 1941-1942 was extremely cold and severe; German troops froze to death in the Russian winter • Heavy casualties on both sides: • 20 million Soviets (military and civilian deaths)
Operation Barbarossa Why did Hitler attack the Soviet Union? • Hitler wanted Russia for natural resources (oil) and more living space (lebensraum) for Germans. • Remember, his ultimate goal was to control the world. What Happened? • As Russian troops retreated, they destroyed anything that could be used by the advancing Germans (“scorched earth”) • Russian troops purposefully drew the German troops deep into Russia so they would not be able to escape the Russian winter
Operation Barbarossa – Why it Failed • Hitler thought Russia would fall in 6 weeks; only issued summer uniforms to soldiers • The winter of 1941-1942 was extremely cold and severe; German troops froze to death in the Russian winter because they were not prepared for the extreme winter conditions. • Heavy casualties on both sides: • 20 million Soviets (military and civilian deaths)
Operation Barbarossa - Significance • Hitler’s decision to pour troops into a second front in the east would prove to be decisive for the Allies • Splits German forces and Soviet Union joins the Allies
Operation Barbarossa – How Did it End? • The operation ended with the Battle of Stalingrad • In 900 days, approx. 700000 civilians died as a result of heavy bombing and starvation. • This battle was the turning point in the war in Europe, marking the beginning of the end for Germany.
Recap – Hitler’s Fatal Mistakes • Dunkirk • The Blitz of London • The Invasion of the Soviet Union Why are these “fatal” mistakes?
Assignment: • Complete your chart: • The Battle of Britain • The Invasion of Russia • Workbook – The War in Six Maps – pages 114 -115 • Complete: • Map B: Battle of Britain • Map C: Barbarossa