For months, the Royal Air Force had been battling German planes in the Battle for Britain. The targets by the Nazi's were mostly military targets and the battle took place in the air. Civilians had not been targeted in the first year of battle.
That all changed on September 7, 1940.
Germany sent 300 bombers over England to begin the nightmare that became know as 'The Blitz'. By the end of the war, over40,000 British civilians had been killed and another 130,000 wounded by the relentless and immoral bombing of civilian populations. The East End of London was the hardest hit.
The BBC remembers that first night:
The first raids came towards the end of the afternoon, and were concentrated on the densely populated East End, along the river by London's docks.
About 300 bombers attacked the city for over an hour and a half. The entire docklands area seemed to be ablaze as hundreds of fires lit up the sky.
Once darkness fell, the fires could be seen more than 10 miles away, and it is believed that the light guided a second wave of German bombers which began coming over at about 2030 BST (1930 GMT).
The night bombing lasted over eight hours, shaking the city with the deafening noise of hundreds of bombs falling so close together there was hardly a pause between them.
One bomb exploded on a crowded air raid shelter in an East London district.
In what was described as "a million to one chance", the bomb fell directly on the 3ft (90cm) by 1ft (30cm) ventilation shaft - the only vulnerable place in a strongly-protected underground shelter which could accommodate over 1,000 people.
About 14 people are believed to have been killed and 40 injured, including children.
Here are three videos of September 7, 1940: