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tv   Reel America Why We Fight The Battle of Britain - 1943  CSPAN  August 25, 2018 10:01pm-10:55pm EDT

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to evade america. the battle of britain. this 53-minute u.s. war department film which was shown to service members and also in theaters details the fight in the sky over england. hollywood director frank cap remarks a team of film industry veterans and army signal corps technicians showed how the british defeated hitler's air force at a cost of more than 40,000 civilians and vast destruction on the ground.
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♪ >> if conquering german armies covered western europe. the so-called master race was riding high. ♪
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>> no, adolf hitler stood just as napoleon had stood more than 100 years before and looked across english channel to the one fighting obstacle that stood between him and world domination. the white cliffs of britain rose sheer and white out of the choppy waters and beyond, a
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little island, smaller than the state of wyoming, crush that little island and its stubborn people and the way was open for world conquest. the fall of austria, czechoslovakia, poland, denmark, norway, holland, belgium, france, had ordered for -- more than 100,000 slaves to work for him or starve. the preliminaries were over. it was time for the main event, the battle of britain. hitler and his generals feverishly drafted their plans
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for the conquest of britain. every detaille must be anticipated. a slip now might wreck the whole time table of worl conquests. six weeks of preparation went into their plans. six weeks to determine the history of 1,000 years. the thing was foolproof. see for yourselves how simple the whole operation was to be. look. german plan for invasion of england. phase one, knock out the royal air force and its bases, control of the air and sea lanes across the channel. destroy communication and transport lines. above all, get command of the air. phase 2, pulverize the coastline with dive bombers. drop parachute troops to take over the air feeleds and establish beach heads.
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phase three, actual invasion. pour the german pansers across in high-speed brarges, under an umbrella of protecting fighter planes. then send spearheads of armed might to divide, surround, destroy all opposition. that's all there was to it. conquer brifpblet force the surrender of the british fleet. then with the combined sea power of germany, britain, italy, france and japan, he could control the seas and tell us where to head in.
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they were singing as they awaited the word from hitler. here for weeks, all the supplies and weapons of the nazi war machine had been turned toward britain. the jaws of the nazi whale were sent to follow joana. >> what about jonah? how was he doing? well, britain also had an taxpayer but it was an army dragged from the sea at dunkirk.
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an army without weapons. these had been 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 ofer ther to. only one machine gun for every 1,500 yards of beach. britain had a navy too but it was scattered all over the globe, guarding vital flood and supply lines and the british knew it would be suicide to use anywhere feet in the narrow waters of the english channel
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with the german air force in control of the air. britain also had an air force. an air force outnumbered 10 to one by the enemy, both in men and machines and then there was britain herself. the people of britain. the people who were to be terrorized and forced to surrender. they knew that every man, woman, and child in uniform or not would be helpless targets in the onslaught that was to come. they knew they had a lot to do with not much time to do it. the clerk, the butcher, the farmer, the member of parliament, they formed a civilian army, britain's home guard. they started from scratch. experience, equipment.
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supplies. all were scarce. only one shell to fire at each practice. the women of britain refused to be left out. >> we're in this too. we'll put up the barrage balloons. the guns. we'll run the railroads and again the trains through on time. -- the planes, carry the dispatches. drive the ambulances around the buses and we'll see that our man don't go hungry.
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>> others work. men and women alike. they worked full time. overtime, double time. 40 hours a week. 50. 60, 0. hours meant nothing. fatigue meant nothing. until the government forced them to cut down hours because overfatigue was hurting production. and when play weren't working, the men patroled the moors for
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parachuters, blocked the roots. rehearsed invasion defenses. for something had happened here, the 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 and he spoke the worlds in every british heart when he said -- >> we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets, and on the hills. we shall never surrender.
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>> this was britain in its darkest hour. the people knew they were in for the worst the nazi mind could invent, yet -- yet they didn't panic or run. they patrolled and waited, they drilled and waited. waited for the terror they knew was coming. then it came. that's the sound that became part of the leaf of every man, woman, and al qaeda in britain. [baby crying] >> august, 1940 and the battle for britain is on. >> the enemy flying due west.
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here comes the luftqaffe. in hundreds of flights, thousands of p+
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>> the raf came, facing odds of six, eight, 150 to one and dove
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in shouting the hold hunting cry hali ho. [machine gunfire] >> phase one of the nazi plan called if for the r.a.f. to be knocked out of the air but the men of the r.a.f. hadn't read the nazi plan.
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in the first four days, the raf knocked 182 german planes out of the sky. but the next week the germans
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knockout before the flow of surprise from -- supplies from overseas became more than a trickle. the ports took a terrible pounding but they couldn't be knocked out. accordingos went unloaded with the protection of the r.a.f. overhead. the spite fires in the air wasn't pang out so they switched planes -- plans.
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maybe he could destroy them on the ground. but the planes were saved. for britain, unlike poland and the low countries, didn't make the mistake of bunching its planes on the runways. with plans were -- planes were hilleden and scattered. the spitfires still went up to meet the enemy. in the first 10 days, 26 major attacks were sent to get command of the world and lost 697 aircraft. the british lost 163. and 60 british pilots bailed out.
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>> the crews of gerhring's planes were lost to him forever. the pace was too hot. something was going haywire. the nazis had to call time-out. on a 2,000 mile front from norway to france, the whole nazi blitz freshman was being stalled because the r.a.f. was still in the air. the troops were getting hoarse from engine ising "we are sailing again."
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the long-range german guns were getting hot from flowing change across the channel. in public, hitler assured the germans, mr. church hill tells his people that engine glanged will win but i tell that you victory will belong to jeremy. but in improvement, he sent for goerhing and put him on the hot seat. he was told to do something and do it quick. so on august 30th, he ordered all-out attacks on industrial centers. mistake he could knock out the r.a.f. on the assembly line. and he adopted new tactics too. more fighters and fewer bombers. or maybe he just had fewer bombers to send. anyway, those he did second were well protected. flyers above at high altitudes.
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fighter on both side. fighters in the front and in the rear. fighters weaving in and out of the bomber formations. britain, winner of the first round was ready with higher morale and sharper defense. improved listening posts were set up all over the coast. a quick flash from the control station to the fighter station and 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 are the watches on the cliffs. four, miles, and six miles above, the battles raged over the dover area. the dover area became known as hell's corner. by sheer weight of numbers, the
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enemy again and again broke through the coastal defenses.
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narrator: between august 31 and september 5, 30 major attacks were launched. the british lost only 219 planes and saved 132 pilots. invasion plans were going completely haywire. the not these were blind with rage. has never mind understood why free people fight on against overwhelming odds. hit learn our new he was superior in every weapon except the weapon of spirit he said, break the spirit, crush the people, crush the spirit of democratic life itself. invasion now would have to wait. the nazis would avoid the raf and smash the city of london into the rubble they had made of warsaw and rotterdam. >> even the people themselves
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did not know the answer. defenses they trusted inward london's hastily assembled antiaircraft, a balloon barrage which cap the raiders at high altitude. the royal, now down to its last reserves, and the plane downright got of the people -- of the plain downright guts the people. they sent more children out of the city. tightened air raid precautions, stationed more airplane spotters, rehearsed firefighters , moved into bomb shelters. they blacked out there city and carried on.
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the first blow aimed to crush the british spirit came on september 7. that day when 375 german planes came rolling up the thames river, the battle of britain
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became the battle of london. the germans broke through the charge of hurricanes and spitfires that went out to meet them. gone was any pretense of aiming at military objectives. this was just savage destruction.
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bombs fell alike on the homes of the poor and rich, on shops, churches. for 28 days, the not see his is dropped the naz everything in the book on the city of london, tons of high explosives, delayed action bonds that exploded days later, torpedoes that sheared away whole buildings. underneath the war in the air, the war of the man in the street went on. learned to exist with very little food. he forgot what it meant to have a night's's lead, spending most of his time underground in the damp and dark and cold. >> i think that will be all
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right now. i will be back in a few minutes. >> get the young man to lift you up. >> is she dead? fireman said next to the bomb and battled to put out the fire. this was like an eclipse. ofinst all of the rules
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warfare, britain was refusing. channel, they took personal command of the operation. ♪ 15 they sent the loot drop into one of its luftwaffettacks -- into one of the greatest attacks. ♪ 500 german bombers and fighters wrote over the english coast. >> planes are three miles southwest. the british met the challenge
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by deploying everything they had. a historic three-dimensional battle to place inside the area 36 miles long from five to six miles high. 200 individual doves fights took place within the first 30 minutes of the raid.
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[planes flying] [shooting] [explosions] hostile formation to the south. >> some german bombers broke through london defenses.
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and they reached the center of the city. >> or are you -- where are you? >> i thought they had got you. >> me?
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no. i had my fingers crossed. ♪ [planes flying] ♪ >> the biggest bag yet. 585 enemy aircraft shot down. >> of the 500 german planes that came over that day, only one third were shot down. from september 7 two october 5, the nazis dropped 50 million pounds of bonds -- bombs, killed civilians and wounded 10,000 civilians.
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bombs were still on buckingham palace. ♪ westminster abbey. the house of parliament. center.reet, the st. paul's cathedral. bombs dashing the historic past of the lives of englishmen. in these 28 days, the nazi is crews thend their more they sent over, the more were shut down. the british of to be one of the deadliest weapons put into the hands of man. is had to pulli a new one. they did.
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on october 6, they changed to a night attack so they could avoid deadly spitfires. they could crash the sovereign british spirit. never mind control of the air or phase one, phase two, phase three. concentrate on bombing the people themselves into submission and make them cry for mercy. flying]
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♪ the raf was not much help. this was german bombs against british. [singing] london was left as a burning inferno. homes were destroyed by incendiaries.
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business blocks were aflame. londonthe people of burrowed underground. morning after murder and -- morning, they dubbed themselves -- doug themselves out of the wreckage. ♪ would you like to sit down? >> fine, thanks. >> what about the when i came down around to? >> i didn't see it, did you? >> we are getting used to them around here. ♪
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>> don't you think you should go away? >> of course not. it would take more than this to get me out of my home. you have to go to work. in spite of the bombs and fire and death they went to their desks and worked. they spent 10 at 12 hours working, working. the spirit was stronger than ever. the raf was flying higher than ever and further. unite.o operators gp 1562.
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gt 71. >> there was a very good one the other night. this is your target for the night. an important target. it has to be hit hard. >> and the midst of a life-and-death struggle, the british found strength to defend and counter attack with the few bombers they can get together. -- could get together. [engine noises] ♪
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>> get airborne, sir. music]ious >> hello, operator. everything ok? >> it seems to be all in gear, sir. ♪ [sirens] [dramatic music] >> standby. i am going into a glide.
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[plane engine] >> study. -- steady. [explosions] >> hair was the raf giving its best. hendler cried for this crime i will enfold revenge. all of the available german night bombers were put into the air.
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>> the thousandfold revenge was coventry. of november 14, one million pounds of bombs were dropped on the city. ♪ was smashed to warsaw and rotterdam.
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♪ the people of coventry dug their to a ones up and saw them resting place in a common grave. [sad music]
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hitler could kill them, but dams if he could -- they knew the machine was as deadly weapon as the rights. in their hearts was the grim determination that the enemy must be destroyed. the day was coming when they would strike back and how they would strike back. christmas, 1940.
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[christmas carol] christmas. this season of peace on earth and goodwill for men. before hitler's great burst of rage before -- on people who cannot be licked.
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he cannot bomb them into submission. he would bring them to ashes. -- burn them to ashes. millions of fire bombs rained down on london. in a matter of minutes, more city1500 sections of the burst into roaring flames, flames that merged into the greatest fire in recorded history.
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♪ in the midst of the fire and destruction, hydro water mains were shattered and water pressure was must entirely cut off. were men ofe night the london fire brigade. they struggled through mud. the nazis carefully picked a night on which the thames river had one of the lowest tides on record. while london burned, the people of the city held on. chin up. they knew this was the people's war and they were the people.
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the people cannot be panicked or beaten. [plane engines roaring] in the months to come, the british were to suffer many but the and earnings, nation calls on the nation calls on cold courage one hot courage runs been.
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[explosions] the battle of britain was one, not by hitler. hitler.not by hitler had lost the battle and lost 2375 planes and crews. time, it was the germans ate the bitter dirt of defeat. gone was the legend of their invincibility. for a solid year, they struck britain with all of their might. they leveled thousands of homes and damaged millions. 40,000lled more than men, women, and children and seriously wounded 50,000. setone single nazi soldier foot on british soldier -- soil. hitler cannot stop.
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in our next film, we will show how they turned to the east again. why did the nazis was the battle of britain? because the regimented people met an equally determined free people and the free people met them with coal. >> we have been bombed, dive bombed, high-level bombed, machine-gunned. we are still sticking it and we're going to stick it. >> second, because of this was a new kind of war and the raf was full of men who could fight. these were the men who belong to what hitler called a week and soft democracy. the british did more than save their country. .a year ofor the world
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precious time it was not only for the people of britain, but the people of the world that winston churchill spoke to when he said >> in a field of human conflict, so much owed by so many to so few. ♪
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[trumpet music] this sunday on oral histories, we continue our series on women in congress with former republican congresswoman helen densely. -- bentley. >> i knew i had to do well because i cannot afford not to. i kept plugging and working hard. campaign is tough work. i admire anybody who goes into it. in the weeks ahead, we will hear from arbor kennerly, nancy johnson. watch oral histories sunday at 10 a.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3. ♪ washington journal is live every day with news and issues that
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affect you. sunday morning, christian science monitor and white house will discuss the future of the trump presidency. the banner corporation's defense policy researcher rebecca zimmerman discusses the future of afghanistan. watch washington journal live at seven eastern sunday morning. join the discussion. ♪ next on american history tv, military historian edward l'engle talks about the experiences of american soldiers on the western front in world war i. he is the author of never in finer company. conquer hell, the muse argonne, 1918. national -- in gettysburg posted this event. >>


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