History Tells us Winston Churchill's Genius Saved Western Civilization

Warfare History Network
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Warfare History Network

Security, Europe

But he had to overcome two big obstacles.

History Tells us Winston Churchill's Genius Saved Western Civilization

During the summer of 1940, Winston Churchill was fighting a two-front war. The first was against Adolf Hitler and his war machine, particularly his Luftwaffe. The second was against a United States that was determined to remain neutral at all costs: against a defeatist U.S. Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy; against an isolationist American public; and against a politically pragmatic President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

On July 16, 1940, Adolf Hitler issued “Directive No. 16 on the Preparation of a Landing Operation Against England”: “Since England, despite her militarily hopeless situation, still shows no willingness to come to terms, I have decided to prepare a landing operation against England, and if necessary to carry it out.”

Actually, Hitler did not look forward to an invasion of England, and would have preferred an armistice. But he had absolute confidence in his military forces. In just six weeks, the German Army and Luftwaffe had overrun Belgium and the Low Countries and forced France to surrender—something that the Kaiser’s armies had not been able to accomplish in more than four years. During July, the Wehrmacht began preparations for Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of England’s channel coast. At the same time, Luftwaffe bomber and fighter units began moving to bases in northern France, a few minutes’ flying time from southern England.

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