The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Historical Context

C. S. Lewis

Historical Context

The Battle of Britain

The backdrop of the novel is Germany's World War II bombing attacks on London, which began in the summer or 1940 and stretched through the winter months into 1941. Britain had recently withdrawn 224,000 of its troops from France and had no remaining allies on the European continent, yet Winston Churchill refused to seek terms with Hitler. Hitler prepared a landing operation against England, called Operation Sea-Lion. German High Command realized, however, that such an operation could not be successfully carried out unless they had gained air superiority over the English Channel, and in August of 1940 German bombers began daily and nightly attacks on British factories, ports, and airfields. Then, Britain launched its own night bombing raids on Berlin. Furious, Hitler ordered his air force to focus less on military targets and more on the city of London itself. In the ensuing months, parents evacuated their children from the city and many London residents spent their nights in underground (subway) stations as Nazi bombers shelled the city. But the Germans were unable to break the spirit of the British people: civilian morale remained high, industrial production continued, and the British air-fighter command put up a heroic and inspired resistance in the night skies over London. These factors, combined with the sinking of numerous German invasion transports docked in their port in France, forced Hitler to continually postpone...

(The entire section is 545 words.)