It was fundamental. The Atlantic was the route by which all resources came to Britain, without which the country would have collapsed. Had we lost the battle, we wouldn't have had enough weapons—nor the industrial capacity to make weapons—and American troops would not have been able to get across for D-Day.
Had we lost the battle, there would have been a second front in Europe, which probably would have led to another year or more of fighting, during which time more ships might have been lost and more manpower used up. The Germans might even have been able to produce enough ammunition to continue the war for another year. As it was, the battle proved decisive. Within three months, German ship production was up again, and they could resume their fight with us.
The battle also demonstrated what could be done when two great powers were involved. The Royal Navy had been defeated in both world wars before D-Day, but now it was back on top of its game. One British captain called the battle his country's finest hour because it showed that "the little man can stand up to the big man when he sets his mind to it."
And the United States? Well, the Americans had already proved themselves capable of turning victory into reality. After defeating Japan, they began deploying their military technology around the world, helping their allies build countries after years of colonialism. They also provided the money that allowed these countries to modernize.
Control of the Atlantic was critical for the Axis and Allies since it was only via water that the US could transfer men and supplies to Hitler's opponents. The Axis Powers would win the war if the Atlantic was not maintained secure for shipping. However, without control of the Atlantic the allies would be at a disadvantage since they would not be able to transport troops or material aid as easily.
For the Allies, control of the sea was essential for two reasons: first, to transfer men and materials to Europe; second, to prevent Germany from attacking its colonies in South America and Africa. Without control of the sea, Britain would be vulnerable to attack and defeat. Even with control of the sea, Britain would still be vulnerable since it was dependent on imports of food and fuel. If these resources were not available then Britain would be left with no choice but to surrender.
The importance of control of the seas for both sides is clear. However, rather than fight over who gets what ocean, we will focus on how the fighting affected each country.
In order for countries to conduct trade they need reliable transportation systems. Both the Allies and the Axis used ships as weapons by bombing them during World War II. Bomber crews called this type of attack "kamikaze" because it resembled the Japanese suicide attacks known as kamikazes.
The Battle of the Atlantic was a fight for control of the Atlantic Ocean between Allied and German troops. The Allies sought to maintain the essential flow of personnel and supplies between North America and Europe, where they might be deployed in the combat, but the Germans wished to sever these supply lines. This would place significant pressure on the Allies to come up with some other way to keep themselves strong enough to continue the war.
The battle started early in World War II when Hitler ordered the construction of U-boats to halt all shipping traffic in the Atlantic. This would force the United States and Britain to work together to protect their interests while at the same time trying to stop the Germans from destroying these interests. It was not long before both countries realized that they needed support beyond what either could provide alone, so they turned to their largest ally - France. In May 1940, just months after the beginning of the war, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an agreement with Prime Minister Winston Churchill providing for American assistance in defending Britain against invasion. The two leaders also agreed that if such an invasion did take place, then America would join the war.
One area where both America and Britain were weak was in naval power. The Americans had entered the war late and wanted to stay out of any fighting that wasn't necessary. They asked that enough ships be made available to them so that they could defend themselves, but the British didn't have enough resources to give them all they wanted.
The fight had shifted in favor of the Allies by the middle of 1943. From this moment forward in the war, the United States was able to transfer supplies to the United Kingdom more freely, including the enormous supply of personnel and weaponry required for the Normandy Invasion. The switch also gave the Allies control of the sea lanes that supplied Germany's economy. Without access to these supply lines, Hitler knew he could not continue the war.
In addition, German U-boats were unable to operate with any degree of success after mid-1943. Their losses rose so high that they were no longer effective as a weapon against the Allies. By the end of 1943, the U-boat fleet had been reduced by half, and in 1944 it collapsed entirely.
Finally, the battle showed Nazi Germany that it was impossible to win the war at sea. After suffering one defeat after another, Hitler ordered all resources being used against the Allies to be turned toward defeating the Soviet Union. This decision doomed Germany's chances of winning the war.
Thus, the battle of the Atlantic was a turning point for both sides. For the United States and its allies, the victory brought hope of continued success on the battlefield. For the Germans, it was the beginning of the end.
Washington suffered a terrible defeat in the conflict. However, the defeat revealed an important lesson that would prove critical to America's final success: the Continental Army could afford to lose battles, but if it remained an army-in-waiting, the British couldn't declare triumph.
Furthermore, the importance of this defeat cannot be overstated. It was here that America showed its military strength for the first time since the beginning of the war. It was here that Britain saw the potential threat of its new country and knew that it needed to bring all of its resources to bear against it. It was here that Americans realized they were not alone in their struggle for freedom and that there were others out there who wanted what they had - peace and liberty.
Finally, this defeat proved to be essential in bringing about America's victory because it forced Washington to adapt his strategy to one that best utilized his troops' skills and abilities. Before this defeat, he had been planning on engaging the British forces head-on, with his limited manpower, at places like Quebec or New York City. But after losing nearly a third of his army, he knew he had to find another way. So he decided to invade Canada instead, which turned out to be exactly what the Canadians needed from their friends back home.