Victory in the West Meant the End of the War
The campaign in the West had ended. Throughout Germany bells pealed and flags fluttered. People were convinced that victory in the West meant the end of the war; now it was up to the diplomats to find a way to bring about peace. It was incredible that England, the last remaining antagonist, would dare to continue the war.
Goebbels organized a mighty reception for Hitler when the latter returned from the front; the rumor was spread that America had intervened and England would make peace. Plans for demobilization were worked out and a few people were discharged from the armed forces.
England had no Thought of Submission
But although people were convinced in Germany that England would now try to get out of the war, longboats, light sailing vessels, motorboats and other craft began moving northward on special vehicles; they were to carry German troops across the Channel and few people doubted that this enterprise would shortly be crowned by success. Yet week after week passed and nothing happened. On the contrary, the German intercept service was obliged to report again and again that England had no thought of submission. Moreover, voices from America also had to be taken seriously.
While the public was thus forced to settle back and wait for the invasion which Hitler said was coming, it was remarkable that all preparations for invasion were carried on in the open instead of being carefully camouflaged as usual. Details which normally would have been strictly secret could be heard everywhere, until one almost had the impression that the invasion was nothing but a bluff.
England was Looking for an Invasion
Interception of English traffic, however, gave the impression that the British were counting on an attempted landing. Their air reconnaissance of points where the Germans were concentrating small boats became intensive and the assemblies were bombed constantly.
The Air War Against England
Meanwhile the air war against England began. It was supposed to break the will of the people to resist, but it soon brought two disappointments: first, the British fighter defense proved far stronger than expected; second, the effect of the bombs was by no means as great as had been expected. Furthermore, German aircraft losses increased rather than decreased – some days a hundred or more machines were lost. Careful monitoring of all radio traffic between Great Britain and the U.S. A. showed no indication of any letup in England’s will to resist. Week by week the United States was growing closer and closer to Great Britain. Unmistakably there was a resolve to put an end to the conquest of one country after another by National Socialism. The attitude of the U.S. A. was expressed in a speech in Philadelphia on 18 August by Mr. Bullitt, former ambassador to France.
Blockade Against England
Since the air war was not achieving its purpose, the German Government proclaimed in August a “total blockade of England.” This step was aimed primarily at the U.S.A., but its effect was like pouring oil on a fire. It really betokened German weakness rather than strength.