Britain, Battle of

A series of air battles in World War II between the German air force, the Luftwaffe, and the British Royal Air Force, or RAF, during the summer and fall of 1940. Poised for an invasion of Britain after the fall of France, the Germans sought to gain control of the air, but they were thwarted by heroic British resistance and abandoned their plans for an invasion. Of the RAF's performance during the battle, Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.