Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How the Brits saved Western Civilization (again)

Today is the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain Day, the date in 1940 when British Spitfire and Hurricane pilots officially turned the tide in the airborne defense of England against Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe. Although German fighters and bombers began their campaign in July, and would continue their attacks until the end of October, the downing of nearly 200 Germain airplanes by the Royal Air Force on September 15 marked the end of Hitler's plan to invade England.

Few today remember just how pivotal this battle was or how long the odds were for a British victory. The United States was still out of the war, and the United Kingdom was essentially fighting alone. Had Hitler defeated the RAF in 1940, it would have paved the way for a planned German invasion across the English Channel - D-Day in reverse. If the United Kingdom had fallen, it would have left America with no ally in North Africa, it would have left no staging area for an allied attack of Europe, and it would have allowed Hitler to mass more of his forces on the Eastern front when he later attacked Russia. All of Europe and much of Asia today would probably be part of either a Nazi or Soviet empire, and the world would be a much scarier place.
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.
-Winston Churchill, August 20, 1940

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender...
-Winston Churchill, June 4, 1940

1 comment:

Cathy said...

My response is to place my hand on my heart - quietly.

There is no voice, no words - only the tribute of mindful silence.

And after that:

The firm resolve to pick up the battle flag
and carry on the battle against tyranny.

Against the enemies of freedom.

Foreign and domestic.