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Dunkirk:Evactuation Miracle or Military Failure

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Dunkirk: Evacuation Miracle or Military Failure? In May 1940, the German forces entered France through the Ardennes in Southern Belgium, whom they had previously taken by force in that same month. The French had not had time to defend themselves, and had thought it impossible to use Blitzkrieg warfare through the woods. As they continued to bomb Rotterdam, the German forces swept through the Ardennes, by-passing the Maignot Line and taking the French by surprise. Soon the French Army and the serving BEF (British Expeditionary Force), were forced to retreat from the German invasion. Lord Gort, commander the BEF, controlled all ten division of the BEF in France from May 1940.By May 22, while France was being invaded, the BEF was in serious danger of being cut off from the coast and, therefore, being stranded in France. ...read more.


Operation Dynamo started on the 27 May, that day, only 7000 soldiers were evacuated. It was more of a success that the British could have hoped for. The majority of soldiers were taken home via Destroyers, but many privately owned boats helped to get the soldiers across the channel. Around 860 boats took part, 338,000 men being brought home in the space of a week. Of these, 159,000 were French. The 'miracle' of Dunkirk was helped by the good weather and Hitler's decision to halt his forces, though the reasons for this remain unclear. Though afterwards, Goering, the commander of the German Army, boasted that the British Army could have been defeated solely by the German Air Force. ...read more.


In addition, the RAF lost 474 airplanes defending the beaches. But against all odds, the British got over quarter of a million men home safely, with minimal injuries. Churchill used the evacuation of Dunkirk for propaganda purposes, often referring to Dunkirk Spirit and the rescued soldiers in his speeches after May 1940. What evidence is there for total military defeat? In many ways, Dunkirk was a defeat for the Allies. The British Army had been forced out of continental Europe and lost so many and equipment that it was impossible for Britain to defend France. Within a month of Dunkirk evacuation, Paris had been captured and France had surrendered to Germany. The Germans occupied Northern France and gained control of Submarine bases on the Atlantic Coast, which would be a great help to them in their U-boat campaign against Britain. ...read more.

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