On May 13th, Winston Churchill, newly made Prime Minister of Great Britain, gave his famous “Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat” speech. In it, he declared that Britain would fight until victory was achieved. This speech was delivered during the Battle of France, and within six weeks France would fall to Germany. Following the fall of France, Germany turned its full attention towards Great Britain. In June, Adolf Hitler ordered the preparation of Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of the British Isles. The Luftwaffe bombarded British airfields and cities in order to bring the island to its knees. Hitler, an anglophile, wanted to subdue rather than annihilate the island. As such, the initial targets of German air strikes were airfields and other military installations. These efforts were unable to quickly destroy the Royal Air Force, but there is some evidence that if the Germans had continued their attacks on the British defenses they would have ground them down even though Britain was producing planes at a faster rate than the Germans were. However, following a British bombing raid, the Germans switched the focus of their bombing on British cities, in particular London. The Germans were unable to sustain daylight raids, but mounted night raids on cities and towns. The “Blitz” as it came to be called wreaked devastation on the populations of British cities, killing thousands. However, it took a great deal of pressure off of the British air force which was able to inflict ever higher losses on the Luftwaffe. The failure to gain air supremacy over British airspace forced the postponement of Sea Lion. The invasion of Russia, and the transfer of German planes away, forced the operation’s cancellation. The resolve of the British leadership and of the British people held firm even after France fell and as bombs dropped over British cities. Even though Germany was able to conquer continental Europe, Britain would stand firm and would go on to help liberate Europe and restore democracy to Germany.
One thought on “May 13th in Germany History: Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat”
Very uplifting chronology!
Amazing how some decisions That might have seemed minor at the time had dramatic historical consequences.