I am writing my papers on the Battle of Britain. Most historians agree that the British won the Battle of Britain, I have yet to find one argue otherwise. The biggest variation in interpretations of the Battle of Britain is the nature of the victory. The big question is whether the British did more to contribute to their victory or if the Germans doomed themselves. The standard history is that the British won the Battle of Britain through the heroics and tactics of the RAF, the will of the British people, and the British use of intelligence. I have done much more research for the standard history so far, as I already have a first draft written. While I have done considerably less research on the German aspect, I have enough evidence to suggest the following: the Germans contributed to their own defeat via poor, incoherent leadership, arrogance among leadership after the quick defeat of France, inefficient strategies, and lack of means of completing a cross channel invasion, among others.
The standard history comprises of both recent and antiquated evidence. The older evidence came largely during the war in the form of newspapers and propaganda. These artifacts weren’t necessarily crafted for the purpose of accuracy, as I argued in my paper, but rather served the purpose of maintaining public morale and making an appeal to the Americans during the war. The more recent evidence serves the purpose of promoting national pride. It is nowhere near as sensationalist as British propaganda during the war, it largely operates to allow the British to look upon their history with pride. It isn’t necessarily inaccurate, but my research has shown me that, while the British did many good things to win the Battle of Britain, the Germans may have done as much to contribute to British victory. These recent British accounts focus heavily on what the British did right than what the Germans did wrong.
As I pointed out in the previous paragraph, the older artifacts tend to be more sensationalist. I don’t really focus on revisionist history in my first paper, but it will play a much larger role in my second paper when I discuss the German follies of the Battle of Britain. Even the recent sources I used in my standard history paper largely just reiterate the accepted history of the Battle of Britain. And not all the accounts of the German perspective are necessarily revisionist either. I’ve found some primary sources, primarily the diaries of German Luftwaffe troops, complaining about German strategies and tactics that don’t really make sense. The revisionist sources I did fine were well researched and well reasoned.
Word Count: 441
Paper 1 Sources:
Boren, Zachary Davies. “Battle of Britain 75th Anniversary: The Staggering Numbers behind the Four-month War over UK’s Skies.” independent.co.uk. Last modified July 10, 2015. Accessed September 22, 2017. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/battle-of-britain-75th-anniversary-the-staggering-numbers-behind-the-four-month-war-over-uks-skies-10380910.html.
“Britain, Battle of.” In Europe since 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of War and Reconstruction, edited by John Merriman and Jay Winter, 436-39. Vol. 1. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2006. Accessed September 24, 2017. http://ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=viva_vpi&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CCX3447000157&sid=summon&asid=12462708f11ec5c5a8fe0f11dbec44e8.
Coetzee, Frans, and Marilyn Shevin-Coetzee, comps. The World in Flames. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Cosgrove, Ben. “Remembering ‘The Few’: Photos of the Young Pilots Who Saved England.” time.com. Last modified July 10, 2017. Accessed September 22, 2017. http://time.com/3581825/remembering-the-few-photos-of-the-raf-pilots-who-saved-england/.
Cumming, Anthony J. “Did Radar Win the Battle of Britain?” The Historian 69, no. 4 (Winter 2007): 688. http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/ps/i.do?p=AONE&u=viva_vpi&id=GALE|A172330711&v=2.1&it=r&sid=summon&authCount=1#.
Goulter, Christina. “Review: The Good Fight: Battle of Britain Propaganda and The Few by Garry Campion.” Review of The Good Fight: Battle of Britain Propaganda and The Few, by Gary Campion. The Journal of Modern History 84, no. 2 (June 1, 2012): 481-82. Accessed September 11, 2017. http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/stable/10.1086/664641.
Hastings, Max. “So Who Did Win the Battle of Britain?” dailymail.co.uk. Last modified August 25, 2006. Accessed October 1, 2017. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-402347/So-did-win-Battle-Britain.html.
Holland, James. “What Was the Secret to Winning the Battle of Britain?” bbc.co.uk. Accessed September 9, 2017. http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zgs34j6#z93cdmn.
Hund, Andrew. “Lend-Lease Act (1941).” In America in the World, 1776 to the Present: A Supplement to the Dictionary of American History, edited by Edward J. Blum, 609-11. Vol. 1. Farmington Hills, MI: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2017. http://ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=viva_vpi&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CCX3630800304&sid=summon&asid=8a282d8f631fdabdfdcba1e62acac48f.
IWM. “How Radar Gave Britain the Edge in the Battle of Britain.” iwm.org.uk. Accessed September 23, 2017. http://www.iwm.org.uk/history/how-radar-gave-britain-the-edge-in-the-battle-of-britain.
———. “What Was the ‘Dowding System’?” iwm.org.uk. Accessed September 24, 2017. http://www.iwm.org.uk/history/what-was-the-dowding-system.
Mackay, Robert. Half the Battle: Civilian Morale in Britain during the Second World War. Manchester Scholarship Online, 2012. Accessed September 30, 2017. DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719058936.001.0001.
Mawdsley, Evan. World War II: A New History. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
“Never Was so Much Owed by so Many to so Few – Winston Churchill Speeches.” Video file, 03:19. Youtube.com. Posted by JKAA, October 31, 2010. Accessed September 11, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0t-RqjMH-A.
Puri, Samir. “The Role of Intelligence in Deciding the Battle of Britain.” Intelligence and National Security 21, no. 3 (June 1, 2006): 416-239. http://login.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=hlh&AN=21459776&scope=site.
Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES. “Battle of Britain Recorded.” The New York Times (New York, NY), March 28, 1941, 14. http://login.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/docview/106088346?accountid=14826.
Thomas, Adam. “From Depression to Victory: A Record of Growing British Determination during the Battle of Britain.” Air Power History 63 (Spring 2016): 6-13. http://login.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/docview/1768850160?accountid=14826.