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'Dunkirk was a great deliverance and a great disaster.' This is a famous quote by AJP Taylor in 1965.

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Introduction

Dunkirk Sources 'Dunkirk was a great deliverance and a great disaster.' This is a famous quote by AJP Taylor in 1965. The evacuation is what is being shown in Source A as this was the only thing Britain managed to do right. However even this has been heavily censored. It shows a couple of explosions, a sunken boat and one injury, whereas in reality due to the Luftwaffe flying above the British troops got completely massacred and would be in complete chaos. The evacuation itself would be far less orderly as there would be a frantic dash to get out of danger and onto one of the large boats, which incidentally wouldn't have a chance of getting so close to shore leaving it up to the small boats to make a long and very dangerous trip out to them . The water itself is depicted as very calm whereas it would in fact be extremely turbulent with bombers blowing ships out of the water. ...read more.

Middle

As it was spoken by the Minister of war he is certain to have known exactly what was going on at the time. However this speech is almost certainly biased as it was said at the time of the war. He and the government would have wanted to fill the British people with what is known as the Dunkirk Spirit. This is the huge optimism that came of the Battle of Dunkirk. He doesn't actually lie at all unlike a lot of the propaganda as shown in Source E, although he does bend the truth almost to breaking point. Source E gives an idea of how biased the British media were during the First World War and why the British people thought Dunkirk was such a huge triumph. It starts off by referring to the rescue mission as an armada, giving the impression that it was a fierce attacking force when in fact it was simply a retreat. ...read more.

Conclusion

Back in Britain Dunkirk was celebrated as a great achievement rather than the complete failure it really was. This was thanks largely to government controlled newsreels as well as optimistic paintings like this one. However some parts of what was said in the government controlled news wasn't far from the truth. The evacuation was handled superbly and the RAF outfought the Luftwaffe with ease. The most important thing to come out of the Dunkirk battle though was the Dunkirk spirit. This injected a huge dose of optimism into the British people who came together in an extremely effective war effort until 1945. This was done solely by government propaganda which somehow managed to cover up the fact that they had been driven out of Europe after only ten days of fighting and had left behind around 300000 troops to become prisoners. None of these sources, with the exception of Source F, agree with the opening statement, mainly because at the time they weren't allowed to. This makes it hard for historians to judge what happened at Dunkirk due to the fact that all contempory sources are biased. ...read more.

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