Invasion, 1940: Did the Battle of Britain Alone Stop Hitler?

Overview


The Battle of Britain could not stop Operation Sealion, the planned German invasion. The historians got it wrong. This is a big claim to make, yet the reasoning behind it is remarkably straightforward. In Invasion 1940, author Derek Robinson asks why historians have dovetailed the Battle of Britain with Operation Sealion. Military experts say the Battle prevented an invasion, but they don't exactly explain how. Why is it taken for granted that an air battle could halt an assault from the sea? The skill and ...
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Overview


The Battle of Britain could not stop Operation Sealion, the planned German invasion. The historians got it wrong. This is a big claim to make, yet the reasoning behind it is remarkably straightforward. In Invasion 1940, author Derek Robinson asks why historians have dovetailed the Battle of Britain with Operation Sealion. Military experts say the Battle prevented an invasion, but they don't exactly explain how. Why is it taken for granted that an air battle could halt an assault from the sea? The skill and courage of the RAF pilots isn't in question, but did the Luftwaffe's failure to destroy them, plus bad weather, really persuade Hitler to cancel Sealion? That's what Hitler said, and Churchill claimed a great victory for 'The Few'. The Battle of Britain ended; Sealion died. One followed the other, so the first must have caused the second. But Derek Robinson challenges that assumption and reaches a startling conclusion. The real obstacle to invasion was a force that both Churchill and Hitler failed to acknowledge. In this fascinating reexamination, Robinson doesn't seek to downplay the heroism and achievements of the RAF; rather, he wants the true picture of that brilliant moment in history—Invasion, 1940— to emerge.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Fisher's book about a lesser-known aspect of the Battle of Britain, the "Dowding System," using radar for air defense, crackles with energy when describing the science behind the fledgling radar and the maneuvers of reckless pilots. Fisher (cosmochemistry & environmental sciences, Univ. of Miami; A Race on the Edge of Time) also brings about real drama in describing the back-room political struggles between Churchill and Dowding's Royal Air Force (he was head of Fighter Command) in implementing the new and misunderstood tool of war. The author follows the progression of Lord Dowding from a committed, brilliant, yet vague air force commander to his loss of the post in late 1940 and transformation into a man more interested in paranormal phenomena and communing with his dead wife. Dowding's evolution should have been a riveting thread in the narrative, but instead the reader's sense of him never gains any momentum. Not recommended. Freelance journalist Mortimer's compelling narrative of one terrible, deadly night of the London Blitz intertwines multiple eyewitness accounts throughout the intense raid by the German Luftwaffe. Mortimer (Shackleton) supplies enough of the military facts to set the stage but allows the personal stories to be the main focus of the book. With perspectives from pilots (on both sides), firefighters, teenagers, and everyday families, his composite uniquely follows these people through several hours that changed their lives. Recommended for public libraries. A prolific author of military fiction (e.g., Goshawk Squadron) and some previous nonfiction, Robinson authoritatively takes on the myths surrounding the threat of a German invasion of Britain by sea in 1940. He has a wide command of the historical facts behind much of the perpetuated conventional wisdom and systematically lays out a case for how overblown the invasion scare was. Instead of the Spitfire pilots of the RAF, heroes of the Battle of Britain, preventing Hitler from launching an attack, Robinson argues that it was always British naval power that was standing by to defend and overwhelm an invasion. His arguments are compelling, but the writing and arrangement of topics is rather choppy. For military history collections only.-Elizabeth Morris, Illinois Fire Svc. Inst. Lib., Champaign Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786716180
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 9/9/2005
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

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