Summary Of Robin Prior's When Britain Saved The West

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In his book, When Britain Saved the West: The Story of 1940, Robin Prior makes the argument that with the key events that transpired in 1940, including the ascension of Winston Churchill to the office of Prime Minister, and the Battle of Britain, Britain saved the West in 1940. Through important papers of the time such as combat reports and diaries, Prior digs deep to show how Britain was able to be so successful. Despite his defensive position of Britain during the war, Robin Prior was actually born in rural Australia. He attended the University of Adelaide, obtaining multiple degrees, all in art and history, culminating with a PhD in 1979. Focusing on topics such as World War I, World War II and the British and Australian armies, Prior has…show more content…
Just weeks later, with France in the midst of a Nazi invasion and British forces surrounded at Dunkirk, a decision had to be made: would the British reach a peace settlement with Hitler as suggested by Foreign Secretary Viscount Halifax and Neville Chamberlain, the leader of the Tories, or would the British stand and fight to the death as proposed by Winston Churchill? As we now know, the British decided to go with their new Prime Minister and continued to fight. Prior rips into Chamberlain for his wishes to make a peace settlement when he was Prime Minister, saying that Chamberlain’s belief that the British could reach a negotiated agreement with the Nazis showed an incomprehension of the enemy on Chamberlain’s behalf. Prior goes on to give strong, but fair praise to Churchill for how he handled his first days as Prime Minister. He was constantly being undermined by Halifax, who was working for intervention from the Italians for a peace settlement, even after it was becoming increasingly clear that the Italians would join sides with the Nazis. Despite the constant pressure from Halifax and Chamberlain, Churchill was able to push his own ideas, one of which was keeping the French in the war for as long as possible. Prior points to Churchill’s strong leadership and ability to push his own opinions despite heavy opposition…show more content…
The primary objective of the Luftwaffe Air Force was to force the British into a peace settlement, or even more ideally an outright surrender. Once the Nazis had diminished the air defence of Britain, it could launch an invasion of Britain from both the water and the sky which could have potentially been the first successful invasion of Britain since 1066. In Prior’s opinion however, a successful German invasion could never have occurred. Prior cites the strength of both the Royal Navy and Air Force as reasons for his confidence in Britain. He says that despite some losses to naval vessels at Dunkirk, there were more than enough resources within the Royal Navy to bring more ships in to fight the Nazis should it be necessary, and that despite how it may have looked, the British were actually in control of the aerial fighting throughout the battle, with still more aircrafts simply waiting in reserve. Of course, the British were not armed with the information that Prior is today, and could not have possibly been sure of success, which makes their triumph still more impressive. The Battle of Britain is considered by many to be the German’s first real defeat in WWII and despite the night raids during the blitz that killed up to 40,000 British civilians, is considered a major turning point in the
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