The Blitz

1940 German bombing of Britain during WWII

The Blitz was a German bombing campaign against the United Kingdom in 1940 and 1941, during the Second World War. The term was first used by the British press and came from the term Blitzkrieg, the German word for 'lightning war'.[1]

The Blitz
Part of the Strategic bombing campaign of World War II

A Heinkel He 111 bomber over the Surrey Commercial Docks in South London and Wapping and the Isle of Dogs in the East End of London on 7 September 1940
Date7 September 1940 – 11 May 1941 (1940-09-07 – 1941-05-11)
(8 months, 5 days)
United Kingdom
Result German strategic failure
 United Kingdom  Nazi Germany
Commanders and leaders
Casualties and losses
~40,000–43,000 civilians killed
~46,000–139,000 injured
Two million houses damaged or destroyed (60 percent of these in London)
3,363 aircrew
2,265 aircraft (summer 1940 – May 1941)

The Germans conducted mass air attacks against industrial targets, towns, and cities, beginning with raids on London towards the end of the Battle of Britain in 1940.

By September 1940, the Luftwaffe had lost the Battle of Britain and the German air fleets (Luftflotten) were ordered to attack London, to draw RAF Fighter Command into a battle of annihilation.[2][3]

From 7 September 1940, London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 56 of the following 57 days and nights.[4][5] Most notable was a large daylight attack against London on 15 September.


  1. "WW2: Eight months of Blitz terror". BBC.
  2. Price 1990, p. 12.
  3. Ray 2009, pp. 104–05.
  4. Stansky 2007, p. 28.
  5. "The Blitz: The Bombing of Britain in WWII". WW2 Explained. 2021-04-12. Retrieved 2021-10-21.