KidZone History: UK

UK at War

British Red Coat soldiers

Photographed by Chris Child on Unsplash

The United Kingdom has a long military history within its own borders and globally. Despite this fact, the UK has not been invaded since the successful Norman conquest in 1066AD. Since this time, the UK has battled against Spain, France, America, Russia and others.

The defeat of the Spainish Armada by the British Navy led by Sir Francis Drake was a huge triumph in its time. The Spainiards had the largest and most powerful navy of the time. Equally, the Napoleonic Wars between the UK and France were almost fought to a standstill. Neither side could gain the upper hand as the French were superior on land and the British at sea. The eventual victory of the British led to a period of dominance on a global scale.

This dominance was disrupted some what by the announcement of American independence in 1776. Supported by the French, American troops successfully gained control of the Eastern seabord and expelled British forces from their last hold in Oregon.

Between this conflict and the outbreak of world war, the Crimean war was fought between England and Russia. It is from this war that the famous poem Charge of the Light Brigade is taken, where the British calvalry charged into Russian artillery.

None of these prior conflicts come close to the destruction and casualties of either world war. The First World War was fought between 1914 and 1918, pitting Germany and Austro-Hungarian empire against the UK, its empire and European allies including France, Russia and in 1917, America. The UK and its allies won the war but at great cost to both sides. The Treaty of Versailles, imposing peace and unsustainable terms on the losing side, was a key reason for outbreak again in 1939 and the rise of the Nazi party.

World War Two was fought again between Germany and the UK. With the axis powers including Germany, Italy and Japan while the allies were made up of the UK, France, Russia and in 1941, America. Britain fought by itself for almost a year in 1940 after the fall of France and before America became involved in the war. This period became known as the Battle of Britain as the German airforce continuously bombed major cities in the UK. With preparation and the addition of America to the war, the allies successfully drove back German forces and won the war.