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This Day in History

World History

Friday, November 15, 1940. :   During the Blitz, the German air-force bombs the city of Coventry, almost completely destroying it.

     The Blitz was an intense bombing campaign in England in World War II by the German airforce, the Luftwaffe. The Blitz took its name from the German word Blitzkrieg, meaning 'Lightning War'. Hundreds of civilians were killed, and many more injured, in the initial attack on London which took place on 7 September 1940. The first raids were concentrated on the heavily populated East End, as about 300 bomber planes attacked the city over a 90 minute period.

On 15 November 1940, the Luftwaffe bombed the city of Coventry in a raid which lasted more than 10 hours. Between 380 and 554 people were killed and several hundred injured. The city's 14th century cathedral was virtually destroyed, along with over 4300 homes and three-quarters of the city's factories. A new cathedral has since been built, standing alongside the ruins of the old cathedral as a monument to courage and sacrifice.

Prior to the attacks on England, the German airforce had spent a month attempting to decimate the British airforce. Failure to achieve this objective had resulted in the Blitz, designed to crush the morale of the British people. The Blitz lasted for over 8 months, killed about 43,000 civilians and destroyed over one million homes. During the Blitz, the Luftwaffe lost most of its experienced aircrew and hundreds of aircraft. By drawing the focus away from the British air force, it gave the RAF time to regroup and rebuild. Despite the Luftwaffe's best attempts, the British people never lost their morale or their fighting spirit.

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