Adolf Hitler and his top Nazi cohorts rode through the night on the Fuhrer's special train, code named "Amerika." In the pre-dawn hours, the train quietly changed course, heading west to take its passengers to the jumping off point for what would become the German army's stunning blitzkrieg through Belgium, Luxembourg and France.

On this same day, in London, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain went to Buckingham Palace to resign his office. There was some last-minute hesitancy on Chamberlain's part, based on the powerful German offensive in France, but he was persuaded to go ahead with his plans to give up his post. King George VI asked Winston Churchill to form a new British government. Churchill later said: I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been in preparation for this hour and this trial."

As Americans, we can celebrate this tenth of May as the day when Western Civilization was saved. Churchill knew the stakes. He warned the British people what would happen to America and the world if Hitler won: "If we fail, the whole world, including the United States, and all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister and perhaps more prolonged by the lights of a perverted science."

They did not fail.