The Christian Science Monitor

Battle of Britain’s history: How the myth of WWII shaped Brexit

To even the most casual fan of World War II movies, the propeller-driven Spitfire and Hurricane aircraft are instantly familiar.

Today these two planes rest on a verdant lawn in front of a red-brick chapel that commemorates the pilots and crew that flew in the Battle of Britain and other air campaigns, including those that never came back – 454 Allied airmen in the Battle of Britain alone. The modest chapel is bracketed by a new building, the Biggin Hill Memorial Museum, that speaks to an abiding national interest, even obsession, in that time.

In August 1940, as Nazi Luftwaffe bombardments intensified over England, Winston Churchill singled out these airmen for praise. “Undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, [they] are turning the tide of the World War,” he told Parliament. “Never before in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

Inside the museum,

‘A really attractive myth’Different views of the warA generation moving on from the war?

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