Hitler Confronts England

Hitler Confronts England

Hitler Confronts England

Hitler Confronts England

Excerpt

Fact and fancy are often at odds in men's minds, and in their hearts. Of the two, fantasy often becomes the more important to history. The fantasy of a leader for instance, or of a particular professional group, or even of a whole people, sometimes explains events that would otherwise remain inexplicable.

In the summer of 1940 the world was convinced thatAdolf Hitler would invade England. The public mind pictured him as ready with well laid plans and numberless planes and craft to hop the Channel and take over. In Britain men fed these imaginings with a rereading of Erskine Childers' tale, The Riddle of the Sands, and hardened their fantasy of invasion into conviction. An equal conviction that he could be denied the opportunity led eventually to Hitler's downfall. This book concerns itself with the incredible beginnings of that fall.

Not that I suspected this was so; the truth of it developed as the story of Hitler's efforts to subdue Britain unfolded. It thereupon became necessary to ascertain why Hitler had turned the general conviction back to a fantasy.

An outline of the story began to form for me in 1952 through study of the official German records as a Forrestal Fellow of the U.S. Naval Academy. So briefed but unconvinced, I proceeded to Europe and during the course of the following year discussed and rediscussed Invasion England with many 1940 participants. One source led to another so that in all eighty-nine officers directly concerned were con-

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