Why Were the Major Cities of Britain Bombed by the Germans in 1940-41

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After the fall of France in June 1940, the Germans were barely 40 miles from British soil. Operation Sealion began in July that year, and by September was called off. It was then that midnight raids began on London and similar cities of importance. The Blitz.

Now that Sealion had been postponed indefinitely, the main reason for the raids was to throw a spanner in the works of the British war machine. However, the British war machine consisted of several key parts.

According the memoirs of German Field-Marshall Kesselring, primary objectives were “the disturbance of production and incoming supplies”, meaning that industrial sectors were targeted as well as transport links such as railway bridges and lines. If successful, these accomplishments would result in drastically slowed production of armaments and munitions, e.g. planes. This would lead to a crippled RAF, and the Luftwaffe could control the skies. German controlled skies would mean disaster for the Allies, because should the RAF be eliminated, the British navy would lack aerial support. Cargo ships carrying vital materials and resources such as oil and food would be sitting ducks for the notorious Messerschmitts and Focke Wulfs. In addition to Allied ships being vulnerable, German troops invading by sea would be unstoppable from the air. Radar sites along the coat line were also targets, as if they were destroyed and Radar was put out of action, British citizens would be oblivious to incoming raids and casualties would be far greater.

As well as links to industry being cut, industry itself suffered hugely, with shipyards and factories in large industrial areas, such as Coventry, being bombed very heavily in an attempt to reduce the number of planes in the air and ships in the sea. Factories where people went every day to help with the war effort were put out of action, and production in general was subsequently slowed.

All of these events had an effect on the economy. The German’s aim for the economy was not specific areas in general but simply to ruin it. A damaged economy would wreak havoc with Briton’s lives and could seriously affect the war effort on the home front, which was just as much a key factor as anything.

All of the raids, and the daily routine of hiding from death from the skies would also have chipped away at peoples morale, which was another tactic to hinder Britain’s war machine. Symbolic buildings such as Buckingham Palace were bombed to sap away at patriotic spirit, and suburbs like Barnet we blitzed to destroy homes. As well as house prices dropping, which is another effect on the economy, the morale of a newly homeless family would be none too high.

Overall, Germany bombed Britain to win the war. Slowing production, destroying morale, disrupting the economy etc were merely were key parts of the German war effort, just as keeping the RAF in the skies was part of Britain’s.

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