A look back at local, national and world events through Deseret News archives.

On July 10, 1940, during World War II, the Battle of Britain began as the German Luftwaffe launched attacks on southern England.

Historians call it the first major military campaign fought entirely by air forces. And it was a brutal three months in England. But the ultimate British victory changed the tone of the war in the Allies’ favor.

And Americans were aware of the situation, as the front pages of the Deseret News showed on July 10-11.

The front page of the Deseret News on July 11, 1940.

To set the scene, France had fallen to Nazi Germany following the evacuation at Dunkirk. Students of war believe Adolf Hitler thought England would immediately give in and surrender, but that was not the case. The Luftwaffe spent months trying to attack southern England and weaken the British Royal Air Force.

While most historians blame German blunders for the outcome of the battle, the scrappy British would say their resolve was the key to victory. By the end of October, Germany had retreated to mainland Europe.

By most accounts, as many as 2,000 Axis planes were destroyed, while the Allies lost more than 1,700 aircraft. Estimates say there were about 4,000 military deaths during the three-month battle, but as many as 30,000 civilian casualties in England.

Here are some stories from the Deseret News archives about the Battle of Britain, how American pilots helped defend that country in World War II and more on military aviation history:

70 years on, Battle of Britain pilots remember

Archaeologists find WWII plane

Prince William: Britain’s Sea King of the skies

Gen. Chesley G. Peterson remembered

WWII fighter pilot: ‘I didn’t think I’d make it through the war’

Reliving history aboard a classic WWII bomber

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WWII hero receives award 56 years late

World War II bombers land in Ogden, help keep memories and history alive

Flying high — WWII ace is inducted into the Utah Aviation Hall of Fame

The front page of the Deseret News on July 12, 1940.

Of note: As the battle for control of Great Britain intensified, it is interesting to note U.S. involvement in the conflict. The top headline of July 12, 1940, indicated the U.S. War Department said it could have an army of 1 million ready for battle by September ... if Congress passed a comprehensive military training bill.

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We were there: See Deseret News front pages from 45 big moments in Utah, world history
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