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History >> World War 2 for Kids

World War II

The Battle of Britain

What was it?

The Battle of Britain was an important battle in World War II. After Germany and Hitler had conquered most of Europe, including France, the only major country left to fight them was Great Britain. Germany wanted to invade Great Britain, but first they needed to destroy Great Britain's Royal Air Force. The Battle of Britain was when Germany bombed Great Britain in order to try and destroy their air force and prepare for invasion.

German planes Battle of Britain
German planes attacking Britain


When was it?

The Battle of Britain started on July 10th, 1940. It lasted many months as the Germans continued to bomb Britain.

How did it get its name?

The name comes from a speech by the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill. After Germany had overrun France, he said that "the Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin."

The Battle

Germany needed to prepare for the invasion of Britain, so they first attacked towns and army defenses on the southern coast. However, they soon found that Britain's Royal Air Force was a formidable opponent. The Germans decided to focus their efforts on defeating the Royal Air Force. This meant they bombed airport runways and British radar.

Although the German bombings continued, the British did not stop fighting back. Hitler began to get frustrated at how long it was taking to defeat Great Britain. He soon switched tactics and started bombing large cities including London.

Battle of Britain lookout soldier
Soldier on the lookout for German planes


Battle of Britain Day

On September 15, 1940 Germany launched a large bombing attack on the city of London. They felt that they were closing in on victory. The British Royal Air force took to the sky and scattered the German bombers. They shot down a number of German planes. It was clear from this battle that Britain was not defeated and that Germany was not being successful. Although Germany would continue bombing London and other targets in Great Britain for a long time, the raids began to slow as they realized they could not defeat the Royal Air Force.

Who won the Battle of Britain?

Although the Germans had more planes and pilots, the British were able to fight them off and win the battle. This was because they had the advantage of fighting over their own territory, they were defending their homeland, and they had radar. Radar allowed the British to know when and where German planes were coming to attack. This gave them time to get their own planes in the air to help defend.

London bombed during Battle of Britain
A London street after a bombing


Interesting Facts

Take a ten question quiz at the Battle of Britain questions page.

Learn More about World War II:

Overview:
World War II Timeline
Allied Powers and Leaders
Axis Powers and Leaders
Causes of WW2
War in Europe
War in the Pacific
After the War

Battles:
Battle of Britain
Battle of the Atlantic
Pearl Harbor
Battle of Stalingrad
D-Day (Invasion of Normandy)
Battle of the Bulge
Battle of Berlin
Battle of Midway
Battle of Guadalcanal
Battle of Iwo Jima

Events:
The Holocaust
Japanese Internment Camps
Bataan Death March
Fireside Chats
Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Atomic Bomb)
War Crimes Trials
Recovery and the Marshall Plan
Leaders:
Winston Churchill
Charles de Gaulle
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Douglas MacArthur
George Patton
Adolf Hilter
Joseph Stalin
Benito Mussolini
Hirohito
Anne Frank
Eleanor Roosevelt

Other:
The US Home Front
Women of World War II
African Americans in WW2
Spies and Secret Agents
Aircraft
Aircraft Carriers
Technology
World War II Glossary and Terms

History >> World War 2 for Kids






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