Paul Crawford, our award winning wartime correspondent reporting the key battles

Learn all about the causes of this mighty war.

In September 1939 Britain declared war on Germany, joining the biggest war ever fought in history. Since Victorian times, Germany had been a very large and powerful country at the heart of Europe.

The Fall of France

When the Germans tried and sucseeded to capture France.

It started on 10 May 1940. Germany wanted to capture France, but France made a very strong wall of troops called the Maginot line.

However, Germany snuck through Holland and Belgum to get to Paris, and then they captured Paris easily. The Fall of France ended on June 25, 1940.

France still had strong defense leftover from World War I on the border with Germany. One of Hitler's advisers thought the best idea would be surprise attacks called "blitzkrieg." He thought that if they attacked through neutral territory, Belgium and Holland, it would catch France off guard.

The first part of the German attack was to launch air raids in Belgium and Holland followed by tanks first to confuse the Allies. The Germans has fewer tanks, roughly 2,500 against 3,500. But, the Germans had a concentrated attack in Panzer (armored) formations. Belgium and Holland surrendered and Germany invaded France.

The second part of the German attack was racing France to the coast. France was hoping for help from their British allies, but the Germans wanted to cut them off. France couldn't make it. Germany took Paris, and British troops evacuated at Dunkirk. France surrendered on June 25,

The Battle of Britain

When the Germans tried to take out the RAF the Royal Air Force so they could bomb Britain.

The Battle of Britain started on July 10th, 1940. The German plan was to defeat the RAF, the Royal Air Force, so they could attack on foot through Germany. The German planes were called the Luftwaffe. They had quantity, but Britain had quality. This was the first large skirmish to take place only in the air. It ended on October 31st, 1941.

The Battle of Britain was when the Germans bombed Great Britain's planes to try and demolish Great Britain’s RAF. Hitler's plan was called “Operation Sea Lion” was because they wanted to destroy the RAF and invade Great Britain by land, using navy boats, so the Germans would not be bombed by air.

The planes Britain used were planes like the Spitfire and the Lancaster. To win the air battle, radar stations were important because they showed where the enemy planes were. The Germans had more planes, but the British planes were faster, so over all the Germans failed.

Sir Hugh Dowding led the RAF during the Battle of Britain. The leader of the Luftwaffe was Hermann Goering. The battle raged from July to October 1940. Roughly 1,000 British planes and nearly 2,000 German planes were shot down. The Germans bombed British military sites such as airfields, radar stations, and aircraft factories.

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Rationing provides governments with a way to constrain demand, and was started by the British government in May 1942

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In 1939, September 1st , Adolf Hitler took parts of Poland which ended up starting the war because Great Britain and France had guaranteed military support to Poland if it was attacked by Germany.

The Battle of Stalingrad

When Germany tried to attack Stalingrad for the land, oil and the fact that the battle would symbolise beating Stalin himself.

On the 3rd august 1942 the Germans made an assault on Stalingrad, a city in the USSR. They attacked it for the oil, the territory, and if they captured Stalingrad it would symbolize beating Stalin himself. The battle ended on 2 February 1943.

The Germans tried to attack the city and had success at first, but they were not prepared for the winter. The tide finally turned in favour of the Russians as they had better clothing and better guns for the winter. The Soviet Union eventually defeated them by surrounding the city.

The Soviets frantically made T-34 tanks. Most of the tanks were un-painted and some didn't have gun sights. Some men were not even trained. The Red Army had a second line that acted as a last line of defense. Mothers and children dug trenches, but some women fought as gunners, gun-crew, snipers, and scouts.

The Red Army leader (USSR leader) said, “We will defend this city, or die in the attempt.” Both sides had extremely high casualties. Germans tried to supply themselves through the air, but the planes were shot down. In the end, the Soviets held on to their precious Stalingrad.

Air Water and Land

When you learn about all the three batles and put them all together.

The Wehrmacht (the army), the Luftwaffe (the air force), Kriegsmarine (the navy), were all engaged in major battles in World War Two. This newspaper article is going to compare the three battles that Germany fought in: the Fall of France, the Battle of Britain, and the Fate of Stalingrad.

The Fall of France started on 10 May 1940. Germany wanted to capture France, but France made a very strong wall of troops called the Maginot line. However, Germany snuck through Holland and Belgum to get to Paris, and then they captured Paris easily. The Fall of France ended on June 25, 1940.

The Battle of Britain started on July 10th, 1940. The German plan was to defeat the RAF, the royal Air Force, so they could attack on foot through Germany. The German planes were called the Luftwaffe. They had quantity, but Britain had quality. This was the first large skirmish to take place only in the air. It ended on October 31st, 1941.

On the 3rd august 1942 the Germans made an assault on Stalingrad, a city in the USSR. They attacked it for the oil, the territory, and if they captured Stalingrad it would symbolize beating Stalin himself. The battle ended on 2 February 1943.

In the Fall of France the Germans used the Wehrmacht and the Kriegsmarine. In the Battle of Britain They only used the Luftwaffe. In the Battle of Stalingrad the only used the Wehrmacht.

Source 1 The Fall of France

Source 2 The Battle of Britain

Source 3 The Battle of Stalingrad