Shrouded in myth: the social fears and manipulations that shaped the Battle of Britain

May, Alice (2016) Shrouded in myth: the social fears and manipulations that shaped the Battle of Britain. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The Battle of Britain is a well-known event, understood as the triumph of the Royal Air Force (RAF) over the German Luftwaffe, which consequently prevented a German invasion. Many historians such as John Terrain have presented compelling evidence for the success of the RAF. However, subsequent historians such as Anthony J Cumming and Derek Robinson have since contradicted this accepted idea by arguing that in reality it was the Royal Navy who prevented the invasion, not the RAF. Important as these arguments are, this dissertation will explore the vastly overlooked role that the British population had in shaping the Battle of Britain. As identified in Chapter One, focusing on military issues has resulted in these historians missing a crucial piece of understanding about why the RAF was solely recognised as preventing the invasion. Chapter Two will argue, using newspapers, diaries and Mass-Observation archival material that there was an identifiable lack of concern about an invasion in the summer of 1940 as the British population were more focused on the relentless attacks by the seemingly undefeatable Luftwaffe. Primary source material in Chapter Three will help to demonstrate that Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister at this time, was aware of the concerns of the population, and the impact it would have on Britain’s role in the war. This dissertation will conclude that Churchill deliberately portrayed the RAF as the ones who had preventing the invasion in order to show the population that the war was worth continuing.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2016 16:01
    Last Modified: 21 Jun 2016 16:01

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