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Subject: Battle of Britain book by James Holland rss

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Jim Patching
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Reading up on this game got me in a Battle of Britain mood so I decided to do some reading around the subject and got hold of The Battle of Britain by James Holland. It's a bit of a brick of a book but it was fascinating and had a nice narrative flow which made it a very easy read. It doesn't just cover the obvious contribution by Fighter Command and the Luftwaffe, it also spans the often-overlooked efforts made by other organisations, such as Bomber Command, the Kriegsmarine, Home Guard, etc. Also delves into the politics a lot and frankly changed my opinion on Neville Chamberlain.

Just thought I'd mention it here as a definite recommendation if you want to read up on The Battle of Britain while waiting for the game to come out.
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Greg Love
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Thanks for the suggestion, will get hold of a copy.
Just out of historical curiosity, when you say it changed your opinion on Neville C., how so?
Changed in a positive or negative way?
 
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Contemptus Mundi
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panzer-attack wrote:
Also delves into the politics a lot and frankly changed my opinion on Neville Chamberlain.




HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

(Pauses to catch breath. Reads letter signed by Hitler and Chamberlain again)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

My opinion could never change.
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Jim Patching
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zombiewarrior07 wrote:
Thanks for the suggestion, will get hold of a copy.
Just out of historical curiosity, when you say it changed your opinion on Neville C., why is that?
Changed in a positive or negative way?


A positive way. I didn't realise how involved with the war cabinet he still was after he stepped down as prime minister and how much support he gave Churchill. After the defeat of France it seemed as though Britain was teetering on the brink of suing for peace with Germany. Churchill was obviously against this but a lot of powerful members of the government weren't and Chamberlain backed Churchill, which went a long way to strengthening the cause for continued resistance.

Not really knowing much about Chamberlain after he stepped, down I'd always assumed he just kind of shuffled off the political scene and washed his hands of it all. I didn't realise he worked so hard, even though he was very ill and was actually dying from cancer.
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Contemptus Mundi
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No doubt he was a patriot, but naive to a fault.
 
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Greg Love
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The text is not clear enough for me to read, but I can probably guess the gist of it. Something along the lines of "Mr Hitler promises to behave himself from now on, and not invade any other European countries".
Close?
 
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Contemptus Mundi
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Peace for out time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_for_our_time
 
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Jim Patching
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LoweringTheBar wrote:
No doubt he was a patriot, but naive to a fault.


Probably true but do you think it's easy to judge him with the benefit of hindsight? I more than likely have done. At the time no one wanted war and when he returned to the UK with those signatures most people were delighted. If he'd been more hard line during those negotiations he would probably now be known as the British prime minister that plunged Europe into war. I know the lasting legacy he's left with isn't actually much better than that but still, I can understand him doing his best to avoid war or at least postpone it.
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Contemptus Mundi
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panzer-attack wrote:
LoweringTheBar wrote:
No doubt he was a patriot, but naive to a fault.


Probably true but do you think it's easy to judge him with the benefit of hindsight? I more than likely have done. At the time no one wanted war and when he returned to the UK with those signatures most people were delighted. If he'd been more hard line during those negotiations he would probably now be known as the British prime minister that plunged Europe into war. I know the lasting legacy he's left with isn't actually much better than that but still, I can understand him doing his best to avoid war or at least postpone it.


I just think he was the wrong man at the wrong time, but I respect his service. At least he put Churchill on his War Cabinet. During the 1930's Chamberlain preferred putting money into social welfare rather than the military. Churchill believed a strong military would discourage Nazi aggression, rather than desiring to go to war with Germany.

Hitler might have still declared war on a stronger or equal opponent in Britain, like he did with Russia... but who knows. Either way, peace through strength always seems like a wise option... if you can afford it.
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Andy Daglish
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zombiewarrior07 wrote:
Something along the lines of "Mr Hitler promises to behave himself from now on, and not invade any other European countries".
Close?

It contains the promise that Britain won't declare war on Germany.

LoweringTheBar wrote:
Hitler might have still declared war on a stronger or equal opponent in Britain

Britain declared war on Germany, actually, and probably to Hitler's surprise. This represented the final stage of the appeasement policy, though neither side took it too seriously at first. Appeals for peace followed, and even after the army was crushed in France, Hitler waited for a long time before embarking on the Battle of Britain, where at first, and much to Churchill's chagrin, no bombs were dropped on British cities. Thereafter Germany asked for peace terms on a regular basis, always to be answered by an embarrassed 'unconditional surrender'. One presumes acceptance would have been even more embarrassing, like how do you police an unrepentant Nazi Germany?!

A few POW officers of Bomber Command were turned by the inescapable argument that their side had started, and now was pressing, a world war for no apparent reason [and which by mid-42 Churchill may have regretted, as defeat loomed], whilst in return the enemy took a distinctly soft line with Britain. The point of the Russian campaign was to bring Britain to the peace table, so the potential bloodbath of an invasion of Malta was disallowed, despite its military importance to the desert campaign, which Hitler anyway disregarded.

The idea was to keep the Soviets in the war, despite Stalin having no scruples about discussing peace with Germany in a more serious manner, even in late 44. Stalin always keep his word, doubtless to allay concerns based on his murderous habits. Reputedly Hitler said exactly what he meant, except on the rare occasions he gave his.
 
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Minot
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The only way Hitler would have abstained in the long term from war with Britain was if Britain had agreed to permanent German hegemony in Europe. Even that was no guarantee. The "Plan Z" Fleet was a real thing; there was some ambiguity about whether it was meant to fight the US or Britain (or both), but it certainly was not targeted at the Russians. Hitler envisioned a series of short, controlled wars against individual European nations.

The short of it was, Britain would either eventually have had to become a virtual client state of Germany and join her in the fight against the USSR and/or the United States, or fight Germany herself. There was no third option in Hitler's mind, and the brief history of the Third Reich is plenty of proof of the worthlessness of Nazi offers of peace and alliance.
 
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Andy Daglish
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Why should Britain not agree with political events in Europe? That Hitler found the British Empire an admirable organisation and one he wished to promote at every opportunity was something he mentioned often. That 40,000 Britons could control hundreds of millions of locals in India was a case in point, and indeed The Lives of a Bengal Lancer was his favorite film because it espoused this very concept, which had obvious application to Lebensraum. Hitler, and the Japanese, had no interest in India, not least because it represented a great deal of trouble that presently preoccupied the British, and secondly because both sides tacitly acknowledged it would make an excellent buffer between their spheres of interest.

Stalin's statement to Churchill that 'I am not so naive as to believe the German assurances that they have no desire for hegemony, but what I am convinced of is the physical impossibility of such hegemony, since Germany lacks the necessary seapower.' might equally apply to Russia, as they didn't have a significant navy either. A few days after reading these words, Churchill had the French fleet destroyed. Had Hitler realised his dream of setting up a thousand year Reich under a new order, according to Nazi philosophy, in the few years of life he had left, he like Stalin would have been a revolutionary with no interest whatever in disturbing the new status, where he accepted the end would be so hard-won it justified any means. Hitler's mind did not contain any 'options', since his sole objective was clear from the start, and any ideas ascribed to him must ask to what extent it furthered this goal. He would not have allowed any other consideration to frustrate this one. As for hegemony in western Europe, clearly this didn't include Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, neither France nor Belgium essentially, nor Nordic next-door-cousins Denmark & Norway with any degree of consensus. Austria, the Czechs and Luxembourg were on-board with a degree of enthusiasm.

The problem with fighting Britain was that far from being alone, it included a quarter of the world's population, including such useful wartime allies as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India and half of sub-saharan Africa and every adventurous young man from anywhere else. The Canadians produced 5000 Valentine tanks which were all sent to Russia. Do you think they would have made a difference to Rommel's rep had they turned up in the desert?
 
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Dave Bailey
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I'd really recommend this book too;

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Most-Dangerous-Enemy-History-Britai...
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Jim Patching
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aforandy wrote:
The point of the Russian campaign was to bring Britain to the peace table,


I'm not convinced that was the point of the Russian campaign. Rather, I think the invasion of Russia was always Hitler's ultimate plan and the only reason he unleashed it when he did was because Britain was on the ropes (but not out), but with the resources of the Empire at its disposal would likely get stronger over time. I think he felt he was able to turn his back to Britain at that moment but give it a year or more and things may be different.
 
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Minot
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Hitler was imminently flexible on the timing of his goals. While he had set his sight on the east in general and Russia in particular from the beginning of his political career, the timing of the decision to attack the Soviets and accept a two front war was entirely based on his desire to knock Britain out of the war, and his (and the German military's) perception that the USSR was a weaker opponent than the UK. Do not forget, the Germans anticipated a Soviet collapse in a matter of weeks from the initiation of hostilities.
 
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Minot
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aforandy wrote:
As for hegemony in western Europe, clearly this didn't include Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, neither France nor Belgium essentially, nor Nordic next-door-cousins Denmark & Norway with any degree of consensus. Austria, the Czechs and Luxembourg were on-board with a degree of enthusiasm.


Spain was seen as a potential ally. But then again, so was Poland until they refused Hitler's requirement that they turn over the Danzig corridor. There were plans to occupy Switzerland (though never carried out). France had been reduced to permanent client state status after 1940, and there is no indication Hitler would ever have allowed them to rebuild. Holland and Denmark were occupied based on rather questionable military reasons, and again, no reason to think they would ever have been liberated by the National Socialists.

Hitler, as he put down in his own writing, believed in an eternal military struggle, something akin to the never-ending border wars of the Roman Empire, and the Nazi economy only functioned if it could be periodically recharged with the benefits of new conquests. Hitler would have kept going until stopped.
 
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