Kevin Myers: Seventy years on and the soundtrack to the summer of 1940 is filling Britain's airwaves
Published 06/08/2010 | 05:00
MYTH: it is the great enabler, the unifier and the falsifier. Truth hammers in vain against the might of myth and all its panoply, like a mouse on a castle wall.
Britain this year celebrates the triumphs of 1940 and the Battle of Britain, even though 70 years ago last Sunday, Hitler all but decided against going ahead with an invasion of Britain. On that day, July 31, 1940, the German naval chief Raeder told the Fuehrer that such plans as existed to invade Britain were playing havoc with German commerce, as barges and fishing vessels were being conscripted from all over the Reich. But to no purpose, because tides allowed only two possible windows. One was August 20-26 and the other was September 19-26. The first was too soon and the second was traditionally one of bad weather. Anyway, the German navy was ready for neither.
Hitler agreed. He would continue the pretence of an imminent invasion, with an aerial assault designed to bring Britain to its senses and persuade it to negotiate.