the first time that gottfried leske Saw that London was before the bombing. It was July 1940 and the young Luftwaffe sergeant, the Nazi Air Force, saw the image of the city center passing through the mirror of his cabin as his plane landed on the attack.
He was startled: “I can’t forget him. I saw it for the first time, and I’m sure it will be the last too, This was during the second visit. There were no clouds in the sky, although in the evening there was a little mist. But still I could see the roofs of London. The moment was described by the aviator in his diary, which was published in book form. I was a Nazi pilot.
Was part of Leske’s first mission Battle of Britain, an aerial campaign in which the Luftwaffe sought to prepare the British Isles for a Nazi invasion Through bombing military bases, naval bases and urban centers.
His aim was destruction, and for this reason he looked to the city he was assigned to destroy for historical purposes: “I have tried to fix his image in my mind, because I’m sure I’ll be one of the last people to see London,
His innate fascination with the ancient city combined with his Nazi fanaticism leads him to the Project Victory which he felt was within reach: “For a moment, I felt that I had never been so wrong in never visiting London. done, because now will not have the opportunity to go, because Today, as I flew over the largest city in the world, I was quite sure, as if I could predict the future, that it would all be destroyed.,
Inspired by a staunch belief in Nazi religion, Leske tried to do as much damage to that city as possible, on the other hand, took it captive: “Not a night goes by when we don’t light a fire in the heart of London. Not a single night when his sky is blood red with flames (…) Yesterday it looked as if the Thames was on fire. we’ve been like this for a month”, and concluded: “London is dying”.
The whole city burned like nothing had happened since the great fire of 1666. The bombing killed over 27,000 British civilians, leading to mass displacement of the English countryside. But the RAF resisted and the Luftwaffe never achieved its goal of dominating the air.
Gottfried Was Behind Leske’s Personal History One of the most important battles of World War IIOne of those moments that reversed the German first instincts of victory and generated hope for an Allied victory that would be fulfilled almost five years later.
July is one of the best months to fly over the islands of Great Britain. The coast is as cloudy as possible in summer, and the Cliffs of Dover mark the first signs of landfall visible from the mainland edge of the Strait of Calais. In July 1940The pilots of the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force, took advantage of these conditions to carry out the first phase of Operation “Sea Lion”: the Nazi invasion of English soil.
The nightmare was only possible because of a series of past factors such as The gradual collapse of the Netherlands, Belgium and France to the mechanized troops of Nazi Germany in 1940, The British, under English rule until 1558, had staged a bumpy evacuation of troops from the Empire’s nearest French cities of Dunkirk and Calais on their island.
On 10 May, the Netherlands was invaded by German forces, and from 22 June Paris became the capital of a German-occupied state of France. In addition, the smaller islands of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Granville, The easternmost regions of Britain on the English Channel were occupied by the Nazis from the end of June.
The first bombing took place on 10 July and targeted coastal defenses on the English side of the English Channel. The war in the islands began with a proposal for an armistice between the highest officials of the Third Reich and the office of the British Prime Minister.
but for Winston Churchill had no choice but to surrender to Germany, He warned in advance after the French surrender: “The Battle of France is over. I have a feeling that the Battle of Britain is about to begin.”, There was no possible alternative: the United Kingdom had to resist.
Hitler’s plan to invade Britain air mastery; The Luftwaffe, the largest air force in the world at the time, was to override the Royal Air Force to expose the beaches of southern England to attack by amphibious troops. After the bomb blasts, Speculation to start landing in September: A way to take advantage of high tide and full moon.
It looked like a possible plan: historian Abraham Rothberg recalls in his Graphic History of World War II what “The Germans had 2,670 aircraft against the RAF’s 1,475”.,
German Heinkel or Stuka bombers (with the Teutonic cross painted under their wings) were accompanied by Messerschmitt fighters, state-of-the-art technology for the time, that sought to inflict as much damage as possible on Allied aircraft. to drive them out.
Luftwaffe supreme commander Hermann Göring decided to launch air strikes on England’s coastal defences. British pilots responded to these advances with their Hawker Hurricane and Spitfire fighters, which stood in resistance against all odds. Between July and October 1940, the Germans lost 1,733 aircraft and RAF 915. This first victory prompted Churchill to tell those in his leadership: “Never owed so much for so little.”
Facing greater resistance than expected, Nazi plans shifted from coastal defenses to major cities. In September, the bombings reached London., Air raid sirens were sounded as quickly as possible to alert the population of an impending attack. Luftwaffe incendiary bombs continued to roam the city until mid-November.
While Londoners spent all night in tube stations to protect themselves from bombs, German pilots fly almost daily to the islands, The occupied territories in Europe were already beginning to suffer from Nazi isolation measures, but the United Kingdom remained the only obstacle to the German goal of continental domination. The British bombed Berlin on 25 August 1940.,
Dissatisfied, Hitler delayed invasion plans for Britain several times, postponing them indefinitely in June 1941, when he began his invasion of the Soviet Union.
Despite heavy losses, Britain had won its battle for survival. Since then it has served as the western base for attacks on the Third Reich. On June 6, 1944, nearly four years after the Battle of Britain began, The ports of the British Empire would be the starting point for the fleet landing on the French beaches of Normandy. and dealt an almost certain blow to the nightmare of the Third Reich in Europe.
Once the Allied push increased, German cities were also bombed: between February 13 and 14, 1945, the RAF and the US Air Force dropped 4,000 tons of bombs on Dresden, leaving their propellers behind, killing at least 25,000 civilians. It happened, almost two months before the German surrender.