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The Evacuation from Dunkirk in World War 2 was a great Disaster for Britain. Discuss.

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Introduction

´╗┐Zainab Hashmi Ms Nazir Controlled Assessment: Dunkirk ?The Evacuation from Dunkirk in World War 2 was a great Disaster for Britain? In this essay I will write about the evacuation from Dunkirk which took place in 1940 in World War 2. I will analyse eight sources to determine as to whether or not it was a great disaster for Britain. Dunkirk is located in the northern area of France; it lies ten kilometres from the Belgian border. The evacuation from Dunkirk took place as the Battle of Dunkirk was commencing. The British Prime Minister at the time was Winston Churchill. The Wehrmacht were the united armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer (army), the Kriegsmarine (navy) and the Luftwaffe (air force). The Dunkirk evacuation, commonly known as the miracle of Dunkirk, code-named ?Operation Dynamo? by the British, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, France between 26th May 1940 and the early hours of 4th June 1940. They were evacuated on naval vessels, civilian boats and little ships. There were over a thousand civilian casualties and an estimated five hundred and fifty four were killed and a further seven hundred and ninety one lost their lives in the course of their duties before coming to an end. When Hitler came to power he was determined to make Germany a great power again and to dominate Europe. He had set out his ideas in a book called Mein Kampf (My Struggle) that he had written in prison in 1924. His main aims were to: destroy the Treaty of Versailles imposed on Germany after her defeat in World War One. ...read more.

Middle

From this source we can infer that the British soldiers were brave and that even though they were alone they were not willing to back down. Their ally France had let them down and now they had to face what was to transpire on their own. This also shows us that the evacuation was a success. This cartoon was created to encourage support for the BEF, build patriotism, to engender a feeling of happiness and to create a positive thought about the evacuation of Dunkirk. This source is useful because it shows the successes and was created from the time. However, this source is limited in its usefulness as it is censored; it is a cartoon, so it is not as reliable. It could also have been staged as it was published in the London Evening Standard, so it could have been perceived to show only the braveness of the soldiers and to show the public there was nothing to worry about. It is also one person?s interpretation which makes it limited; there are no facts which make it highly unreliable. It only shows the successes. It is a source of propaganda and is biased. The government used censorship because they wanted the British public to support them; they wanted them to believe them. The government could have edited the cartoon to make it look like a success, that the British have it all under controlled. It was created to show the positive reflection of what had happened in the war. The source is reliable as it was created at the time however the source is limited because it doesn?t show Dunkirk was a disaster, it just shows the positive points. ...read more.

Conclusion

The reason for this is because there were many casualties in this battle. Despite the overall success of evacuating the troops, all of their vehicles and heavy equipment had to be abandoned during the retreat. A total of six UK destroyers sunk during the operation along with nine large boats. Additionally, nineteen destroyers were damaged and more than two hundred of the Allied sea craft were sunk with just as many damaged. There were sixty-eight thousand BEF casualties. Along with the loss of vital lives came the massive losses of equipment. Overall, nearly forty thousand pieces of equipment were surrendered to the enemy, including seventeen machine guns, twelve thousand field guns, two thousand eight hundred anti-aircraft guns and four hundred and seventy five tanks. This was one of the worst losses of equipment ever sustained by the British military. These were obscene numbers of equipment lost. Even though they rescued thousands of men, many were still lost. It was also a disaster because they Germans fully expected Great Britain to make peace. However, it was also a success in some areas such as the fact that it was a miracle in how many people were saved and how British fishermen were prepared to sacrifice their lives to help save the soldiers. America also agreed that it was a miracle as they were stunned at how many people were rescued and unharmed. In my opinion, I think that the British people?s thoughts of Dunkirk were only a miracle as they were lead wrongly and mislead by the press and media. Also, censorship and propaganda influenced the people?s thoughts and understanding. People were only told the good points about Operation Dynamo and Dunkirk to keep the morale up and so that the people would not doubt Churchill. ...read more.

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