The Navy and the battle for Britain in 1940

For most people, it was the aerial Battle of Britain that prevented a German invasion. But in advance of the BBC's 1940 anniversary coverage, Anthony Cumming argues that more recognition should be given to the navy's role in the defence of Britain 70 years ago

The remains of a 1940 naval battle in Narvik, Norway – several battles between German and Norwegian forces took place in the Ofotfjord in the spring of 1940. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

This article was first published in the April 2010 issue of BBC History Magazine 

Among historians, the defence of Great Britain in 1940 has been one of the most hotly debated topics of recent years. Since the end of the Second World War, the story of our finest hour has been resold countless times to meet an insatiable commercial demand for military history and nostalgia for our glorious past. The focus of this coverage, by the media at least, has been mostly pinned on the aerial conflict of the summer of 1940, which we now know as the Battle of Britain.

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