Today, the Battle of Britain, as it became known after the war stands as one of the pivotal moments in Britain’s long history.
By the end of June, 1940, the United Kingdom stood alone. France had surrendered and the British Expeditionary Force and her allies had just faced a humiliating retreat back across the Channel from the beaches of Dunkirk. Nazi Germany and her allies had succeeded in conquering the rest of Europe from Norway to Sicily.
As both sides drew breath, Adolph Hitler, the German leader, ordered his military commanders to draw up plans to force a British surrender by whatever means possible through blockade, bombing or even invasion.
Ahead lay a long hot summer as a battle for national survival was fought in the skies over Britain in full view of the population. Not only did their fate depend on the outcome of the battle but also the freedom of the rest of Europe and ultimately, the outcome of the Second World War.
This programme looks at how the battle evolved into four distinct phases before it fizzled out during the early months of 1941 as the threat of invasion receded and Hitler turned his attention to the impending invasion of Russia.