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Dunkirk Defeat, deliverance or victory? Which of these best describes Dunkirk? On the 1st September 1939 Nazi Germany invaded Poland, using highly effective tactics and a warfare commonly known as 'Blitzkrieg'. Even though Britain and France declared war against Germany two days after the invasion of Poland little happened and so, began the 'phony war'. But when Germany invaded France through the Ardennes this surprised the Allies and resulted in them being surrounded and forced to retreat to Dunkirk. In the coming weeks they rescued nearly 340,000 but was this enough to class Dunkirk as a success? Using any relevant evidence and your own knowledge of the topic, make a case for Dunkirk being a military defeat and catastrophe for the British Dunkirk could be seen as a defeat for Britain the evacuation could be seen as disorderly and evidence that large numbers of men were killed and captured shows this. The BEF were forced to leave nearly all of its equipment behind and the soldiers morale was at a distinct low. It would be a valid argument for the nature of the evacuation to be considered one of the most important aspects of defeat, there is clearly proof that the organization was poor and this is evident in a number of different sources which included the likes of a German pilot, he explains his experience in a manner that makes the soldiers seem like sitting ducks, ...read more.


This source is first hand and should be true in its words, But likes credibility due to him mentioning he knew some of the deceased and it all seems very close to his heart turning the source bitter. Also it does not mention why it is written but may have been made more interesting or controversial to sell if it was for public sale. Military defeat was also a major factor in looking at Dunkirk as a defeat it is a known fact that a large number of people were injured, taken prisoner or killed. The biggest blow was the amount of equipment that never returned too Britain. This military defeat is showed by Collier's history of the Second World War. He talks about all the loss of heavy equipment in many different forms, which is a definite military loss; he mentions the anti-tank guns being left which could have been vital and spiraled into yet more military loss. This loss proves too be a major defeat in military terms. Collier should generally be considered very reliable he has the benefit of hindsight, also this means he cannot speak out of real experience it means as a historian he can analyse all the different factors and piece together what the truth really is. I know his figures are correct from what I mentioned earlier. ...read more.


Finally it could in some ways be argued that there was a military victory by the saving of so many soldiers this is shown in the recorded figures of the admiralty records. It records that a total of 338,227 troops landed on English land. This should be solid evidence and figures but in such a time of madness it remains a question whether the figures were being recorded accurately and if they were exaggerated at all for propaganda purposes. Bullock also backs up this with a figure of 340,000 troops evacuated from Dunkirk, he talks of how the 'remarkable improvised operation' which was a military operation. This source should be reliable due to the fact that he is famous historian. Although the fact that this book is not a detailed study of Dunkirk and that he is British and could be leaned towards supporting Britain brings the readability down. In conclusion I believe that you must look at Dunkirk with an open mind characters like Churchill and J.B Priestly will make out the whole things too be great success but there positions had to keep spirits high, But there is clear evidence throughout the sources that a huge number of troops were rescued and this was due to the 'little boats' and the morale was raised by this. But this was still an evacuation nonetheless. So finally I believe Dunkirk was a success in what it set out to achieve which was rescuing a large number of troops. But the overall situation of retreat was a defeat. ...read more.

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