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Was Dunkirk a defeat?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Dunkirk Was Dunkirk a defeat? Hitler was a determined, harsh, and powerful leader. Who was full of corrupted ideas, ideas of dominating other countries. He had already invaded Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and was planning to conquer Poland. When he did, this has caused a spark for the beginning of WWII. In April 1940, both Norway and Denmark had fallen and on the 10th of May the German army invaded Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. France was his next target. By the 27th of May the German Army had successfully advanced towards the beaches of Dunkirk and with help from their Luftwaffe, he had been able to trap the BEF there. On the 27th of May the British Government launched "Operation Dynamo", it was an evacuation plan to rescue soldiers trapped on the beach. The evacuation continued for a whole week. Nearly 340,000 men were saved including 140,000 French troops, but they were very demoralised. The aftermath of Dunkirk Britain was very relived and elated. The evacuation was treated as a typical British "meddling-through". Winston Churchill had made many patriotic and stirring speeches to substantiate that Dunkirk was a Victory, which used to help lift the Dunkirk Spirit. Newspapers talked of the "Dunkirk miracle" and the "Dunkirk Spirit". Many British people had felt that Dunkirk was a great victory. You could say Dunkirk was a defeat because Britain had lost a lot of ground, machinery, lives and morale in the forces, and the British public was severely damaged. But there are 3 key aspects of defeat we need to taken to account to, and they are the defeat in the nature of the evacuation, a military defeat, and the defeat for morale. In my opinion the most important aspect of defeat was the nature of the evacuation, it seems that the retreat of the evacuation was disorderly, and panicked. From my studies I know that men scrambled desperately to escape from Dunkirk, troops were left to fend for themselves, and regiments were split up. ...read more.

Middle

is the amount of machinery saved, and morale is maintaining a high spirit during the evacuation of the armed forces and the British public, later it was known as "Dunkirk Spirit" But the most important aspect of victory is morale; the use of propaganda had boosted the public's belief. When British Forces managed to save the B.E.F, this had lifted the morale in both the armed forces and in the public. Winston Churchill had also made lots of uplifting and optimistic speeches in order to increase the morale; this had also boost his reputation as a leader. Dunkirk was a victory for morale due to the high sprits of the British public, and this had allowed Britain to continue with the war. These sources backup this view An extracted from Churchill's memoirs "The Second World War." He comments. "How in the midst of our victory, glory came to the island people". This extract gave a great boost to the British morale, and it also lifts the "Dunkirk spirit". Due to the high spirit of the public this allowed Britain to continue with the war. I would think this source is quite reliable because the Prime Minster has all the facts available to him therefore it is extremely well informed. But Churchill might have given this speech to boost his popularity and glorify his role as a leader. This speech might have also been used for propaganda. J.B Priestley comments on how Britain snatched glory out of defeat and also the bravery of the public who made an excursion to hell on holiday steamers and came back victorious. This had lifted the Dunkirk Spirit because J.B. Priestley is a very highly respected radio presenter. He was also being compared with Churchill as it states "and as important to propaganda as Churchill", therefore he must be a very good speaker. This source shows the ways of how "Dunkirk Spirit" spread by the use of media. ...read more.

Conclusion

"How little holiday steamers made an excursion to hell and came back glorious" Sources that back up my views are sources 16,and 17 these sources are examples of the propaganda and that kept British people believing that they would win the war. In terms of the nature of the evacuation it was also a victory, this is due to the large amount of men saved during Operation Dynamo. Operation Dynamo exceeded expectation, the government initially thought that they would save about 30,000 men, but actual total saved was 340,000. Operation Dynamo was extremely successful because they had couple of days to put the plan together. The government used all the ships they could find; even the pleasure boats were used to help with the evacuation. The halt of the German tanks gave Ramsay more time to put the operation together and also gave the Soldiers more time to put up defences and hold Dunkirk for nine days. We are still not sure why the tanks halted but nevertheless the deliverance in the form of delay had increased the number of soldiers saved. Another factor that helped the evacuation was "luck", there was a cloud of smoke, and 47,310 men were saved because the smoke delayed the Nazi attacks on evacuating the boats. The sources that have helped me come to this conclusion that Dunkirk was natural victory are source 5 part (I), and source 10 these sources informed me of the number of allied troops saved and the effectiveness of Operation Dynamo. Operation Dynamo lasted nine days and saved 340,000 soldiers and this is the reason why I think Dunkirk was a victory. Dunkirk may have been a military defeat, and lost tones of machinery, but at the end of day lives were saved, and in comparison to that the machines are worthless, because they can always be replaced, but lives cannot. The huge of amount of lives saved is mainly due to the nature of the evacuation, and the high morale of the people. But mostly importantly this had allowed Britain to continue with the war. ...read more.

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