Academic journal article Military Review

INVASION, 1940: The Truth about the Battle of Britain and What Stopped Hitler

Academic journal article Military Review

INVASION, 1940: The Truth about the Battle of Britain and What Stopped Hitler

Article excerpt

INVASION, 1940: The Truth About the Battle of Britain and What Stopped Hitler, Derek Robinson, Carroll & Graf Publishers, New York, 2005, 268 pages, $25.00.

The Battle of Britain is so enshrouded in myth that a reexamination poses serious challenges for a historian, not to mention a gentlemanly writer like Derek Robinson. Robinson, however, is up to the task. His new book, Invasion 1940, is a leisurely read done in an older style of writing that may lull the reader into complacency, but should not disguise the fact that the book is a first-class product.

Robinson's thesis is that the Battle of Britain was not decided by the Royal Air Force (RAF), but by the continued existence of the Royal Navy. He covers old ground in setting the stage, relating how Adolph Hitler connived to allow the British Expeditionary Force to escape at Dunkirk and failed to take advantage of England's vulnerability. Robinson's twist on this standard historical take is that he blames Hitler's architect, Albert Speer, for sidetracking the Fuehrer with plans for the new buildings of Greater Germania.

Robinson's main contention is that historians have failed to account for the role the Royal Navy played as a deterrent to invasion. The usual argument is that if the Navy had had to return to England (from positions off Crete and Malaysia) to stop a seaborne invasion, it would have been susceptible to the Luftwaffe because it would have been forced to run a gauntlet of overwhelming fire. However, this counterargument doesn't consider the RAF's superiority to the Luftwaffe. …

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