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The Battle of Britain book

THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN, 1945-1965: THE AIR MINISTRY AND THE FEW

Published in hardback on 7th October 2015 during the Battle’s 75th anniversary. 

This book is now available as a paperback. 

 

Palgrave Macmillan website

Book Focus

How did the Battle of Britain as it is celebrated today, acquire its hallowed status in British popular memory? Officially recognized as a decisive event in March 1941 by Britain’s Air Ministry, Hitler’s decision in September 1940 to postpone the invasion of Britain was credited to Churchill’s ‘Few’ alone. A separate campaign waged by RAF Bomber and Coastal Commands against invasion preparations was also significant in Operation Sea Lion’s postponement, but was quickly eclipsed despite contemporary British propaganda attention. Beginning in 1940 with both German and British air war propaganda, then later-war coverage, this book additionally explores the commemorative, cultural and historiographic representation of this famous aerial conflict from 1945 through to the advent of the modern age with Churchill’s death in 1965. It reveals that several senior Air Ministry officers were strikingly successful in shaping the Battle as a moment of British exceptionalism, misleadingly achieved only by Fighter Command.

Book Contents

Chronology

Introduction

Part I Air War, Media War

1 Seelöwe und Bomben Auf Engeland: The German Perspective, 1940

2 Britain’s Fighter Boys: Projecting the Battle of Britain, 1940

3 The Battle of the Barges: ‘Blackpool Front’ Propaganda, 1940–1945

Part II Valorising and Thanksgiving

4 ‘The Greatest Day’: Shaping the Battle of Britain, 1941

5 ‘Immortal Few’: Heroising the Fighter Boys, 1942–1945

6 ‘Air Trafalgar Day’: Official Commemorations, 1942–1945

Part III Commemoration and Popular Memory

7 ‘The Fight at Odds’: Revelation, Memorialisation, 1945–1965

8 ‘Angels One Five’: Historical and Cultural Consolidation, 1946–1965

Conclusion

Appendix 1 Chronology of German-focused Events, 1939–1941

Appendix 2 Nazi Battle of Britain-related Propaganda

Appendix 3 Radio and Audio Coverage of the Battle of Britain, 1940–1965

Appendix 4 Printed Coverage of the Battle of Britain, 1940

Appendix 5 Newsreel, Film and TV Coverage of the Battle of Britain, 1940–1965

Appendix 6 War Artists

Appendix 7 Books and Printed Literature, 1940–1965

Appendix 8 Chronology of Political and World Events, 1945–1965

Notes

Bibliography

Index

 

Reviews: 

'This book provides a fascinating story and the various circumstances surrounding the famous Battle of Britain. … It also presents background materials in eight appendices to give readers a broader view. … This book is an interesting read. It contains many details, circumstances and backgrounds on various decisions, actions, influences, and postponements that have previously not been looked at, so it is valuable for those interested in British history.' Sonu Chandiram, Biz India Reviews, bizindia.net, December 2015

'Given the various commemorative activities that accompanied the recent seventy-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Britain, this is a timely volume by Garry Campion, one which develops further some of the issues and ideas he had previously explored in his widely (and rightly) praised 2009 work, The Good Fight: Battle of Britain Propaganda and the Few... [t]his [The Battle of Britain, 1945-1965] is a fine contribution to Battle of Britain scholarship, and an important addition to on-going work examining the Second World War’s pervasive and persistent cultural legacy.' Sam Edwards, Senior Lecturer, Manchester Metropolitan University