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BACKGROUND

After France was half-conquered, Hitler tried to make peace with England. But Winston Churchill refused. Hitler made plans for invading England.

The first German bombers (1) arrived over London on 7th September 1940. Within 121 hours, 625 bombers and as many fighters (2) killed 430 people and lit (3) more than one thousand fires.
Heavy and frequent bombing raids were carried out over Britain in 1940 and 1941. This was called The Blitz. Blitz is the German word for 'lightning' (4).London was bombed every day and night for 56 days.

Explosive and incendiary bombs caused enormous damage (5).
The most devastated areas were the City, the Docks and the East End.

The population tried to take refuge in the city shelters (6), in underground stations (7) and mostly in "Anderson shelters" (photo) (8).

Other cities and towns were also heavily bombed, including Bristol, Southampton, Plymouth, Birmingham, Coventry, Liverpool. And in Wales : Swansea and Cardiff.

Air Raid Shelters were built. To help prevent the Germans from seeing where the towns were, a blackout (9) was rigorously enforced after darkness.

Most of the battle was fought in the air. The Luftwaffe Vs. (versus) the RAF (the Royal Air Force) (Spitfire).

During the Blitz some two million houses (60 per cent of these in London) were destroyed and 32,000 civilians were killed and 87,000 were seriously injured (10).

The Blitz ended in mid-May 1941, when much of the German air force "Luftwaffe" was sent east (11) to prepare for the invasion of Russia.

In 1944 the V1 and V2 bombers appeared (June 13th 1944 until March 27th 1945). "V" stands for "Vergeltungswaffe" or "retaliation weapon" (photo). They were planes without (12) pilots. They were nicknamed "doodlebugs" (13).

NOTES
(1) bomber : bombardier
(2) fighter : chasseur
(3) to light - lit - lit : allumer

(4) lightning : éclair
(5) damage : des dégâts (toujours singulier en anglais)
(6) shelter : abri
(7) underground station : station de métro
(8) Anderson shelter : abri Anderson, du nom du Ministre de l'intérieur.
sortes de huttes individuelles d'acier ondulé enfouies dans le sol et recouvertes de plantations. Deux millions d'exemplaires ont été distribués.
(9) blackout : black-out
, extinction des feux
(10) injured : blessés
(11) was sent east : a été envoyée à l'est
(12) without : sans, dépourvu de (/ with : avec)
(13) doodlebugs : bombes volantes



PHOTOS



An aircraft spotter on the roof of a building
in London with Saint Paul's Cathedral in the
background



The London Necropolis Railway Station



damaged residential neighborhood



old building after fire bombs


emerging from an Anderson shelter after a
bombing raid



shelter



Air raid damage at Bank Underground station
14th January 1941



Alice Smith on the Blitz
doodlebugs : V1 - V2 rockets ("bombes volantes")



V1 : "Vergeltungswaffe" or "retaliation weapon"
It had no navigation system.
It was pointed in the direction of its target.




SELECTION of LINKS


Wikipedia en.wikipedia.org


Mémorial de Caen
from World War I's consequences to nowadays


the Blitz


Winston Churchill

On This Day



information and archive audio
news.bbc.co.uk




Maps of the battle www.raf.mod.uk

phase 1 - the battle begins

phase 2 - pressure grows

phase 3 - the Blitz

phase 4 - the end of the battle



The Battle of Britain London Monument
www.bbm.org.uk
18th September 2005


scenes and description by sculptor Paul Day


The speech by HRH The Prince of Wales


directions to the museum

Imperial War Museum (London) The Children's War

World War II adverts


Children of World War II interactive bbc.co.uk


different topics iwm.org.uk


London at War lgfl.net




AUDIO & VIDEO RESOURCE


Winston Churchill's speech - 4th June 1940

transcript :
'... We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender ...'

audio resource



Winston Churchill inaugurates the Battle of Britain 1:37



PRINTABLES


How did Britain prepare for war? schoolhistory.co.uk

Anderson shelters schoolhistory.co.uk




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