I’ve just finished writing my new book about the Battle of Britain, which has taken me the best part of three years to put together. I’ve always been amazed by how often aspects of the Second World War quickly became the acceped way of regarding things and have been continued by historians ever since. The Battle of Britain is a prime example. Since the HMSO pamplet published in 1941 first appeared, the Battle has been viewed as RAF Fighter Command versus the Luftwaffe, yet this both isolates it as a much smaller conflict and demeans the significance of what happened in that incredible summer of 1940. Moreover, most accounts look at it only from the Allied perspective, which also provides a very narrow-minded view.
Instead, I have written about Britain versus Germany, looking at the battle as beginning with the German invasion of France and the Low Countries on 10th May, and finishing at the end of October, by which time Hitler realized his Third Reich was committed to a long and attritional war after all. This meant looking at all aspects of the clash – from the ground, from the air, and at sea. It meant looking at the intelligence and propaganda war as well, and how both British and German leaderships were coping with the battle to win the hearts and minds of their respective people.
It was certainly an epic clash, full of incredible drama, triumph and tragedy. Yet some very interesting and different perspectives emerged. I loved writing this book – it’s the work of history I have always wanted to write and I’m very excited about it coming out.