tv Reel America Why We Fight The Battle of Britain - 1943 CSPAN September 1, 2018 8:01am-9:01am EDT
now, adolf hitler stood just as napoleon had stood more than 100 years before and looked across the english channel to the one obstacle that stood between him and world domination. britain was sharing and white in the choppy water. beyond, a little island smaller than the state of wyoming. crash that little island and its debord people in the world was open for -- and its stubborn people and the world seemed open for world conquest. the fall of austria, czechoslovakia, poland, denmark,
norway, holland, belgium, france, had given him more than 100 million slaves to work for him or starve. the preliminaries were over. it was time for the main events. the battle of britain. ♪ hitler and his generals drafted hitler and his generals drafted their plans for the conquest of britain. every detail must be
every detail must be anticipated. a slip now might wreck the whole timetable of world conquest. six weeks of final preparation went into the plans. six weeks to determine the history of 1000 years. the thing was the thing was foolproof. see for yourself how simple it was to be. look. the germans planned for an the thing was foolproof. see for yourself how simple it was to be. look. the germans planned for an invasion of england. phase under an umbrella protecting fighter planes. then, send spearheads of armed might to divide, surround, and
destroy all opposition. that is all there was to it. conquer britain. force the surrender of the british fleet and what the combined seapower of germany, britain, italy, france, and japan, he could control the seas. the torch of freedom flickered low. on the channel invasion coast, more than 100 police with german divisions were singing the nazi theme song, sailing against england, as they waited the words from hitler. here, for weeks, all of the supplies and weapons of the nazi war machine had been turned toward britain.
♪ the jaws of the nazi whale were set to swallow jonah. >> what about jonah? how was he doing? britain also had an army, but it was dragged from the sea of dunkirk. which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] --♪ an army without weapons. they had the left behind on the roads of france. tanks, guns, motorized equipment, all abandoned to save
the one priceless item, men. ♪ in all of britain, there was not enough equipment for one modern division. only one tank for every thousand square miles of territory. only one machine gun for every 1500 yards of the beach. britain had a navy, too, but it was scattered all over the globe, guarding food and supply lines. the british knew it would be suicide to use their fleet in the narrow waters of the english channel with the german air force in control of the air. britain also had an air force, an air force outnumbered 10-1 by the enemy, both in men and machine. then there was britain herself. the people of britain who would be terrorized and forced to
surrender. they knew every man, woman, and child in uniform or out would be , hitler's target in the onslaught that could come at any moment. they knew they had a job to do and not much time to do it. the young, not so young, and the old. the clerk, the butcher, the farmer, the members of parliament, they formed a homeian army, britain's guard. they started from scratch. ♪ experienced, equipment, supplies, all were scarce. only one shallow fire at each practice. the women of britain refused to be left out. >> we are in this, too.
put up the barrage balloon. man the guns. run the railroad to get the trains through on time. carry the dispatchers. drive the ambulances and run the buses. see that our men are fed and do not go hungry. ♪ >> others worked. men and women alike. they worked full-time, overtime, doubletime, 40 hours a week, 50,
60, 70. hours meant nothing. tea meant nothing. until the government forced them to cut down hours because of over fatigue. when they were not working, the men patrolled the moors from parachutes and blocked the roads. rehearsed invasion defenses. something had happened here that germans could never understand. in a democracy, it is not the government that makes war, it is the people.
to lead them, the people had chosen winston churchill as their prime minister. he spoke the words in every british heart when he said, we -- when he said -- >> we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in the streets, and on the hills. we shall never surrender. ♪ >> this was britain and its darkest hour. the people knew they were in for the worst. runthey did not panic or away. they patrolled and waited. they drilled and waited. they worked and waited. waited for the terror they knew was coming.
then, it came. [sirens] that is the sound that became part of the life of every man, woman, and child. [baby crying] august 5, 1940, the battle for britain is on. here comes the luftwaffe. in dozens of flights, hundreds of planes. bombers, fighters, dive bombers. across 21 miles of channel. that eight short minutes of water. their first tactics were to bomb convoys on the channel loaded
planes. the luftwaffe went to stamp that -- at southhampton trying for a knockout before supplies overseas became more than a trickle. they cannot be knocked out. cargoes went on to be unloaded with the protection of the raf overhead. spitfires and hurricanes in the air was not panning out. goering switched his main attacks the fighter airfield. maybe you could destroy the planes on the ground. he bombed the airfields and the fields were hit. but the planes were saved. for britain, unlike poland, did not make the mistake of bunching the planes on the runways. the planes of the raf were scattered and hidden, only a few on one field.
but the crews of goering's planes were lost forever. ♪ the pace was too hot. something was going haywire. nazis called a timeout. on the 2000 mile front from norway to france, the whole nazi blitz program was being stalled because the raf was still in the air. the troops were getting hoarse from singing, "we are sailing against england." ♪ the long-range german guns were getting hot from throwing shells across the channel. [explosions] in public, hitler assured the germans that mr. churchill tells his people england will win but i tell you victory belongs to germany. [cheering]
in private, he put the head of the luftwaffe on the hot seat. he was told to do something and do a quick. ordered attacks on all inland air drums and industrial centers. maybe he could knock out the raf on the assembly lines. he adopted new tactics. more fighters and fewer bombers. maybe he just had fewer bombers to send. those he did send were perfected -- well protected. fighters at high altitudes, fighters on both sides, fighters in the front and in the rear, fighters weaving in and out of the bomber formation. britain, winner of the first -- >> britain, winner of the first round, was ready. with higher morality and sharper defense.
improved listening posts were set up along the coast and warned of the enemy's approach before he left the continent. a quick flash from the control station, pilots were on their way to meet the enemy while he was still over the channel. day after day, out of sight and almost out of sound of the watchers on the cliffs, 4, 5, and six miles above, the battles raged over the dover area. the dover area became known as hell's corner. by the sheer weight of numbers, the enemy again and again broke through defenses. [bombing] ♪ and reached inland to the airdrop. aircraft plants.
the raf kept flying. the men with wings alone in the sky, behind them, motors and machine guns were shooting down more than the luftwaffe. they were smashing the nasty plan of the world conquest. >> 109 destroyed. >> i had a wonderful party, thanks. >> are you all right? >> give me a hand. i got 109. >> between august 24 and september 5, 25 major attacks were launched.
they cost the germans 560 planes. the british lost only 219 and saved 132 pilots. hitler's plans were going completely haywire. the nazis were blind with rage. the german mind has never understood why free people fight on against overwhelming odds. hitler knew he was superior in every weapon except the weapon of spirit. he told goering, to break the spirit and crush the people. crush the spirit of democratic life itself. the invasion would have to wait. the nazis would avoid the raf and smash the city of london into the rubble hitler made of warsaw and rotterdam. >> could london take it? the people themselves did not know the answer. the defenses were hastily assembled antiaircraft.
bolin barrage kept the raiders at high altitudes. the royal air force, now down to its last reserves. they sent children out of the city. they tightened air raid precautions, stationed more airplane spotters. rehearsed firefighters and moved into bomb shelters. they blacked out there city and carried on. city and carried on. aimed to crush
mayfair rich. poor and the mayfair rich. hospitals, shops, churches. s were toys, the nazi drop everything on the city of london. tons upon tons of explosives. late action bombs that exploded days later. torpedoes sheared away whole buildings. air,neath the war in the the war of the man in the street went on. he learned to exist with very little food. he forgot what it meant to have a night sleep, spending most of his time underground in the damp and dark and cold. >> going in early tonight? >> i think that will be all right now. >> yes, it is grand. >> i will be back in a few minutes, if you want.
>> how we get you up there? >> young man, left her up. >> give this young lady a lift up. ♪ >> the air raid wardens stayed at their posts. doctors and nurses worked on steadily as bombs crashed around them. rescue squads labored night and day. >> is she dead? >> fireman said nuts to the bombs and battled to put out fires. this was life in the blitz. against all the rules of nazi warfare, britain was refusing to crumple up. across the channel, the enraged
-- thecross the channel, enraged goering took command of the operation. on september 15, he sent the luftwaffe into one of its greatest attacks. ♪ 500 german bombers and fighters rolled over the english coast. >> planes heard three miles southwest. >> planes approaching from the southwest. >> the british met the challenge by throwing in everything they had. ♪
>> the biggest bang yet. 100 85 animate aircraft shot down. >> of the 500 german planes that came over that day, more than one third were shot down. in the 28 days of terror from september to october, the nazi's dropped 15 million pounds of bombs on the city, killed 15,000 healthy civilians and wounded 10,000 more. bombs fell on buckingham palace,
westminster abbey, the houses of parliament, fleet street, the center of the news, st. paul's cathedral, bombs dashing the historic past of the lives of englishmen. but, in these 28 days, the nazis lost 900 planes and crews. the more they sent over, the more were shot down. the british spitfire proved to be one of the deadliest weapons ever at the hands of men. if this kept up pretty soon, no , more luftwaffe. had a newntic nazis on october 6, the germans one. changed tonight attacks so maybe
they could avoid those deadly spitfires and hurricanes. maybe that way they could crash the stubborn british spirit. never mind control of the air, never mind phase one, phase two, phase three. now just concentrate on bombing the people themselves into submission and make them cry for mercy. [plane engines] ♪ >> hostile raids.
>> the raf was not much help at night. this was just german bombs against british guns. >> hello, dear. >> lost a good amount of men tonight, didn't they? >> yes, they are all right. the great stocks of london were left as roaring inferno's. homes were destroyed by incendiaries. business blocks were aflame. still, the people of london, night after night burrowed
underground and morning after morning dug themselves out of the wreckage. ♪ >> good morning. >> good morning. >> would you like to sit down? >> thanks. >> morning, sleep well? >> fine, thanks. >> what about the one that came down around 2:00? >> i do not hear it, did you? >> no. >> we are getting used to it. ♪
>> don't you think you had better go away from this for a bit? >> of course not. it would take more than this to get me out of my home. go on, you have got to get to work. >> the battle of london was the battle of the people of the city. in spite of bombs, fire, and death, they got to their desks and worked to spend 10 or 12 hours working, working, working. the british spirit was stronger than ever. the raf was flying higher than ever, not only higher, but farther. >> operations for the night. ep781. 10 aircraft. >> you will find i think a
decent photograph. >> there was a very good one taken the other night. this is your target for the night. the submarine shipbuilding yards. a widely important target. it has got to be hit hard. >> in the midst of the life-and-death struggle, the british found strength to defend and counterattack with the few bombers they could get together. ♪ >> hit the charlie airborne,
hitler could kill them, but dammed if he could let them. they went back to their laves and machines. they knew the machine bench was as deadly weapon as a rifle and in their hearts there was a grim determination that this enemy had to be destroyed. the day was coming when they would strike back. and how they would strike back. ♪ >> christmas, 1940. ♪
he couldn't bomb them into submission, so he would burn them to ashes. >> millions of firebombs rained down on the great city of london. in a matter of minutes, more than 1500 different sections of the city burst into roaring flames, flames that swiftly merged into the greatest fire in recorded history.
in the midst of the fire and destruction, vital water mains were shattered and water pressure was almost entirely cut off. heroes of the night were men of the london fire brigade stretched temporary hose lines to the center of the thames river. the nazis had carefully picked a night at which the thames river had one of the lowest ebb tides on record. while london burned above them, the people of the city held on, chin up, thumbs up. they knew this was the people's war and they were the people. the people could not be panicked, could not be beaten.
but not by hitler. hitler had lost the battle. he lost 2375 german planes and their crews. for the first time, it was the germans who ate the bitter dirt of defeat. ofe was their legend instability. for a year, the not destruct britain with all of their might and leveled thousands of homes and damaged millions. they killed more than 40,000 men, women, children and seriously wounded 50,000 more. but not one single nazi soldier set foot on british soil. could not- hitler stop and in our next film, we
will show how he turned to the east again. why did the nazis lose the battle of britain? first, because the regimented people met an equally determined free people and the free people made them quit cold. >> we have been bombed, dive bombed, dry level bombed, machine guns. we have had invasions. the last lot we had. we are still sticking it and we are going to stick it. >> second, because this was a new kind of war and the raf for raf were the men who would fight it -- who could fight it. these were the men who belonged to what hitler called the week and a soft democracies. the british did more than save their country, they won for the world a year of precious time. it was not only for the people of britain, but for the people of the world that winston winston churchill spoke when he said --
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