On the 20th day of August, 1940, in a speech in The House of Commons, Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK), credited the Royal Air Force (RAF) with valiant determination and effort in the air war against the numerically superior Luftwaffe, the German air force, in the unfolding Battle of Britain.
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few...."
At the time of the speech, Britain was enhancing and expanding defenses in preparation of invasion by the military of the German Third Reich. The first phase of the German effort consisted of bombing targets of the UK, primarily in England, both military and civilian, in an attempt to weaken British defenses and morale.
Churchill's The speech is widely considered to have been a great inspiration to Great Britain's general population and her military personnel.
[W]e have not only fortified our hearts but our Island. We have rearmed and rebuilt our armies in a degree which would have been deemed impossible a few months ago.… The whole Island bristles against invaders, from the sea or from the air. …the stronger our Army at home, the larger must the invading expedition be, and the larger the invading expedition, the less difficult will be the task of the Navy in detecting its assembly and in intercepting and destroying it in passage....
The Battle of Britain, which lasted from the July 10 until October 31, 1940, was fought almost entirely in the skies over England and The English Channel but including bombing raids against Germany by RAF Bomber Command. Pilots of the Royal Canadian Air Force and from other countries and territories of the British Empire, including Australians in Bomber Command, as well as Polish, American, and other nationals, were among those active in the British effort against the German aerial onslaught.
For the most part, Britain's military posture throughout the battle was defensive as it sought to diminish German air power and delay the German invasion. In the end, Britain won the Battle of Britain and emerged as a victor of the Second World War.