The 1969 film Battle of Britain is a decently made war film that attempts to portray the air campaign of the Fall of 1940, which was fought over the English Channel and the southern UK. It is a British production and more realistically portrays the events of that Autumn that a typically sensationalist American film would. However, like the previously reviewed film Conspiracy, this particular movie also has its share of subtle, yet effective, propaganda. The key elements of this are the consecutive scenes where, in the first, Berlin is bombed and, in the second, Adolf Hitler gives his response.
The careful trick played here is not an outright lie, but how the truth is shown; namely the selective editing of it.
First, a flight of Luftwaffe bombers gets disoriented in thick clouds and accidentally drops its bombs very close to London – blasts can be heard in the city causing some panic. This prompts the RAF, on orders from Churchill, to launch bombers on Berlin with the intention of the terrorizing the German capital. As far as history goes, this is a huge white wash. The fact is that the “gallant” Sir Winston Churchill had been itching for an excuse to bomb Berlin for a long time prior before he finally got his wish as this article shows:
“I want the Germans to start bombing London as early as possible because this will bring the Americans into the war when they see the Nazis’ frightfulness, and above all it will put an end to this awkward and inconvenient peace movement that’s afoot in my own Cabinet and among the British population.” ~Winston Churchill
Adolf Hitler, the honorable leader that he was, specifically forbade the bombing of civilian targets in England as he did in France just months prior and in Poland at the outbreak of the war. The Blitzkrieg, which has been made out to be a merciless and destructive assault on innocent nations, is actually much more accurately described as a great achievement in military tactical precision. Though, remarkably advanced and disciplined the Wehrmacht forces may have been, they surely were not perfect down to every calculation and thus, bombs were accidentally dropped near a large civilian area.
Excerpt from this IHR article by David Irving:
“Which was why, on August 25, 1940, Churchill gave the order to the British air force to go and bomb Berlin. Although the chief of the bomber command and the chief of staff of the British air force warned him that if we bombed Hitler, he may very well lift the embargo on British towns. And Churchill just twinkled. Because that was what he wanted — of course.
At 9:15 that morning he telephoned personally the bomber commander, himself, to order the bombing of Berlin — one hundred bombers to go and bomb Berlin. They went out and bombed Berlin that night, and Hitler still didn’t move. Then Churchill ordered another raid on Berlin, and so it went on for the next seven or ten days until finally, on September 4th, Hitler lost his patience and made that famous speech in the Sport Palace in Berlin in which he said: “This madman has bombed Berlin now seven times. If he bombs Berlin now once more, then I shall not only just attack their towns, I shall wipe them out!” (“Ich werde ihre Städte ausradieren! ” ) A very famous speech. Of course German schoolchildren are told about the Hitler speech, but not told about what went first.”
In the film, we hear the bombers begin to approach Berlin, sirens go off, people start to run for cover, but then, the scene cuts before any bombs are actually seen or heard to detonate and we see Adolf Hitler giving the previously mentioned speech at the Sport Palace. It’s an angry speech, he vows vengeance and the destruction of London. The cutting of the scene before we see destruction in Berlin is starkly contrasted with the scenes in which the Luftwaffe bombs London. These scenes contain a great amount of detail: large scale destruction, civilians in terror and the whole lot of intense imagery meant for the audience to think: “those damn Germans.”
This quick and selective omission of the bombs impacting Berlin makes the film subliminally sneak in the myth that Hitler launched an unprovoked imperialist war with the intention of World domination. The crowd watching the speech is, for the most part, uniformly dressed and shouts “Sieg Heil!” in unison over and over. In the several close up shots of the crowd we can readily see the standard “pure Aryan” blue eyed girls with long locks of blonde hair. There are no close ups of Hitler are shown in this scene making him more of a menacing presence. However, there is an image of Hitler, a semi-subliminal, in the film. It is a painting of him standing behind a podium, a similar position to that of when he is giving his angry speech, thus it was probably carefully selected for the film.
The Luftwaffe’s first raids on England display some inexplicable incompetence. First, a flight of Stuka dive-bombers manages to successfully take out a radar site, but is then shot to pieces by an RAF interceptor squadron. The question is: where was their escort? Even the British pilots ask that question! But, nope, no fighter escort shows up and the result is “shooting rats in a barrel” as one of the Spitfire pilots says happily. The second of these scenes shows a flight of Heinkel bombers intercepted even before they get to their target. These bombers also lack a fighter escort and the Spitfires quickly chew them up.
It is right before this scene where the aforementioned image of Hitler appears.
The image appears in the background, slightly out of focus, over the shoulder of an officer who is making a blunder of a decision. This also supports a key aspect of the ZC version of Hitler: the militarily incompetent leader who ordered his forces on pointless suicide missions. The great masses of movie goers are not historians and so they take in these kinds of movies as they would a self-proclaimed (or even an actual) documentary. What’s worse is that this film isn’t nearly as bad as the more recent film from 2001, Pearl Harbor, about a key chapter from the Pacific Theatre. It took even more liberties to glorify the Allied side and dehumanize the Axis soldiers.
Now think to the summer of 2009 when Inglorious Basterds came out; this movie cannot even be called a “period piece” or a “historical film” in any way, shape, or form. Not that it tries to be, but sadly the masses eat it up without thinking and the ZC distortions continue on gleefully.
Attempts at Accuracy
The film manages to pay some service to those keen on history and general objectivity: in the opening scenes pilots from both sides are shown as normal human beings. One of these early scenes even shows the fact that Hitler wanted peace, but it was the British who denied the opportunity. This is all washed over for the remainder of the film and thus was meant to be quickly forgotten. By 1969 standards, the special effects and action sequences are quite impressive so this must have really wowed the audience upon premier of the film. With all of the bombing and aerial combat sequences the film contains the story arc of a Lone Wolf archetype, who in this film is Britain. Like a typical Lone Wolf hero, Britain takes an immense beating, but doesn’t cave in, but rather pushes on until all the bad guy’s henchmen (Luftwaffe pilots) are beat up and worn out – this is shown in a battered Heinkel bomber that manages to fly back to the German lines and the wounded crew is pulled out. This also means that now the villain is ripe for the taking. However in this case, the villain flees in cowardice; note Goring’s last scene in the film, he is seen riding away on a train as two glum officers look on and each manages to give a tired salute.
A Bit of Reality
Hitler’s Actual Speech in Response to RAF’s attack on Berlin.
The film footage is from Battle of Britain, however, the audio is not the fake sounding rant that the film provides, but rather the actual audio of Hitler when he gave the speech. The music certainly adds a touch, though it is neither from the film nor from the era shown. For the curious ones out there, it’s the opening theme to The Rock composed by Hans Zimmer, who is known for epic musical scores in blockbuster films.
In the film, Churchill never appears, but is frequently mentioned, including in the form of his famous quote about the battle portrayed: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” This is the typical Allied boasting of their commanders. The fact is that Winston Churchill probably had the ugliest character of any of the leaders of the Second World War – Stalin was brutal, but he didn’t hide it, while Churchill was infected with the Jewish line of thinking and hiding all of his and his henchmen’s criminal deeds.
This being a film about British boasting, it also neglects much of the help that the RAF received from non-British personnel. The Polish 303 squadron, which had the most number of aerial victories and least number of losses is briefly shown in a few scenes and those legendary pilots who proved vital to defending Britain are shown as goofs who don’t follow orders. They are shown scoring a few victories, but their disorderly behavior is far from reflective of their overall performance. One scene has a Polish RAF pilot bail out of his fighter and parachute down into a field. A bit shaken by the experience, he introduces himself to some shocked farmers with a thick accent and they take him for a German. “Put your hands up you boche bastard!” In one smooth move, the film manages to, once again, make fun of the best RAF squadron and utter an anti-German slur. Though, this scene could also be viewed as an example of Churchill-style ignorance and racism, which actually makes it quite accurate in this respect.
I watched a non-subtitled version of the film on YouTube (first part here), perhaps someone who knows German can confirm a suspicion of mine: that the Germans in the film utter no slurs. Though, some minor expletives like “damn” are probably here and there.
Lastly, the film ends with the final battle tally. Even the German casualties are shown. However, there is a great oddity here: the last Allied pilot listed is said to be from Israel, when in fact, that territory was only illegally occupied and recognized by that name in 1948 or 8 years after the events depicted in the movie. The final tally of nations involved doesn’t go in alphabetical order and the Germans are on a separate title card, or right after the lone Israeli is acknowledged at the end of the first title card. I would bet that it is just more Jewish lust for German blood.
Verdict: the film is aptly summarized in the title of this essay: “Allied Boasting.” Or more specifically: “Anglo Zionist Boasting.”
Now for a positive note: the epic opening credits sequence to the film with Ron Goodwin’s military march-style score and the Luftwaffe in formation!