Official end of the Battle of Britain

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Official end of the Battle of Britain

The 31st of October 1940 AD

The selection of October 31 as the date when the Battle of Britain ended is somewhat arbitrary, given that as the RAF’s own record states: “Strangely, for such a ground breaking battle, the first to be decided purely in the air and the first real test of air power as a defensive and offensive weapon, it did not really end, so much as petered out.”
By October 31, however, it was clear that the Luftwaffe had been thwarted in its first two aims: to defeat and destroy the RAF; and by daylight bombing raids to terrorise and demoralise the British public. In fact the battle worked to Britain’s advantage in some ways: the Luftwaffe had been weakened; British morale was boosted by a victory; and by showing Hitler’s war machine could be beaten American involvement in the conflict was made more likely – the anti-Semitic and seemingly pro-Nazi Joseph Kennedy, US Ambassador to London , had been telling the American authorities that British defeat was inevitable.
After October 31 daylight attcks by the Luftwaffe were rare; night attacks at high altitude were the method of choice, or rather the method forced on the Nazis, such attacks being limited accuracy and reduced effectiveness. Britain was still fighting a defensive war for some time to come, but in mid-October Hitler had already postponed the planned invasion of Britain. In fact, it would never take place.

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Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition. - Adam Smith
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On this day:
Sacking of Berwick upon Tweed - 1296, End of the Crimean War - 1856, Airey Neave assasinated - 1979, John Major gets on his Soapbox - 1992, 1st Broadcast of Channel 5 - 1997, Queen Mother Dies - 2002
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