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The Blitz (from German, "lightning") was the sustained strategic bombing of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (collectively the United Kingdom) by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941,[1] during the Second World War. The capital, London, was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 57 consecutive nights[6] and many towns and cities across the country followed. More than one million London houses were destroyed or damaged, and more than 40,000 civilians were killed, almost half of them in London.[3]

Ports and industrial centres outside London were also heavily attacked; Liverpool, being a major Atlantic sea port was the most heavily bombed city outside London, suffering nearly 4,000 dead.[7][8] Other ports such as Bristol, Cardiff, Hull, Plymouth and Southampton were also targeted. Industrial cities such as Birmingham, Belfast, Coventry, Glasgow and Manchester were also attacked. Birmingham and Coventry were heavily targeted due to the Spitfire and tank factories in Birmingham and the many munitions factories in Coventry; the city centre of Coventry was almost destroyed.

The bombing did not achieve its intended goals of demoralising the British into surrender or significantly damaging their war economy.[9] In fact, the eight months of bombing never seriously hampered British production and the war industries continued to operate and expand.[10] The Blitz did not facilitate Operation Sea Lion, the planned German invasion of Britain. By May 1941, the threat of an invasion of Britain had passed, and Hitler's attention was focused on Operation Barbarossa in the East.

Several reasons have been suggested for the failure of the German air offensive. First, the Luftwaffe High Command (Oberkommando der Luftwaffe, or OKL) failed to develop a coherent long-term strategy for destroying Britain's war industries. It frequently switched from bombing one type of industry to another, and no sustained pressure was put on any one of them. Second, the Luftwaffe was not equipped to carry out a long-term strategic air campaign. It was not armed in depth, and its intelligence on British industry and capabilities was poor. All of these shortcomings denied the Luftwaffe the ability to make a strategic difference........