The Blitz September 1940–May 1941


Map Code: Ax00843

The Blitz, German for ‘lightning’, was a strategic bombing campaign by the Nazis against London and other British cities, including Plymouth, Liverpool, Coventry, Glasgow and Belfast. Used as retaliation for British bombing raids on Berlin, the Luftwaffe dropped bombs day and night, claiming many lives and destroying national landmarks. Use of evacuation areas, created in 1939, increased during the Blitz, with thousands of children displaced to the country. In July 1940, the Germans used the X-Gerät radio beam to improve target accuracy. On 14 November, the beam marked targets in Coventry, destroying its centre: 1,400 civilians were killed or seriously wounded. By May 1941, the RAF had developed radar that tracked Luftwaffe bombers from the point when they left their bases, enabling them to be intercepted and neutralized. This, and the Nazi preoccupation with its operations against Russia, drew the Blitz to a close. It had cost 43,000 civilian lives.

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