In the summer of 1940, the Nazi war machine swallowed Denmark and Norway, and then swept over the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and finally France using the same blitzkrieg tactics previously used to conquer Poland.
It then turned its terrible attention to Germany's only remaining opponent, Great Britain.
Briefly, Hitler listened to his generals who concentrated their attacks on military targets, especially air defense installations. By late August,
Britain's Fighter Command had been decimated, and the Luftwaffe had destroyed most of Britain's air defense system.
Then on August 24, 1940 several Luftwaffe bombers drifted off course and dropped their bombs on the center of London instead of their intended military targets on the outskirts of London.
Britain responded with three successive attacks on Berlin. These were mostly ineffectual, but the bombing of Hitler's sacred city was enough to make him lose his last shred of military sense.
Therefore, beginning September 7, 1940, the Luftwaffe began the terror bombing of civilians later known as "The Blitz". The first bout of bombing in London lasted for 57 consecutive days.
This change in tactics gave British air defense the breathing space it needed. Prime Minister Winston Churchill later wrote:
"It was therefore with a sense of relief that Fighter Command felt the German attack turn on to London..."
As awful as The Blitz was, it was also a waste of resources that cost the Nazis their chance of conquering Great Britain.
In 1941, the Nazi war machine lurched away from attempting the conquest of Britain to its master's latest project: the treacherous and eventually fatal attempt to conquer the Soviet Union, Operation Barbarossa.
The bombing continued in a limited fashion until 1942, but the Germans, having sown the wind with The Blitz, later reaped the whirlwind as British and American bombers visited the same terror on Germany...