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Was Dunkirk a Miracle or a Disaster?

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Introduction

Was Dunkirk a Miracle or a Disaster? September 4th 1939, Germany invaded Poland and refused to leave, in return Britain declared war. For the next six months Hitler did nothing, tricking Churchill into thinking he was satisfied with his regained land naming it a 'Phoney War'. April 1940, the end of the Phoney War. Hitler attacked Norway and Denmark and by the end of May Hitler had invaded Holland as well as Belgium! Churchill realised this anti-clockwise pattern and new that France was next. He decided to send in the British Expeditionary Force and promised to defend the country from invasion. June 1940, Germany won their attack. The soldiers fled to Dunkirk and 328,000 men out of 400,000 were saved, but was this really a Miracle or a Disaster? After World War I, the Maginot Line was built on the French and German border in hope of preventing further attack. The British thought Germany would attack through Belgium using Blitzkrieg, so placed the BEF along the border. To their amazement, the Germans had a surprise attack through the Ardennes. France didn't expect this as the Ardennes has dense forestry and is mountainous so the idea of Blitzkrieg was seen as impossible because German tanks wouldn't be able to transport through. Germany trapped the BEF in a pincer movement and the only place to go was the coast. ...read more.

Middle

The whole idea of newspapers was propaganda and Churchill was the King of it. He only told his people what he thought they wanted to hear. This leads onto the next source. Source 6 is a cartoon by British Artist David Low. It's a primary piece of evidence as it was published in the London newspaper, 'The evening Standard' 8th June 1940. He's named the painting 'to fight another day'. The painting shows boats of different sizes carrying soldiers to safety while gunfire spray the water from German planes. Even though some people saw Dunkirk as a Miracle, many people thought of it as a Disaster. Italy was yet to choose a side of the war, after Dunkirk they decided to join with Germany. An Italian cartoonist published a cartoon showing the Great British Lion being chased out of France retreating to Britain. It's a primary source, published a short while after Dunkirk which is good reason to call it reliable, but it can also be classed as non-reliable because it is an Italians point of view of how Germany looked the stronger side. The cartoon is valid as it shows that Germany won Britain as they ran away and Hitler regained land. There are many reasons why Dunkirk is seen as a disaster. Source 8 is a school History textbook on Global War by Josh Brooman, 1999. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whilst Hitler on the other hand had new technology, well equipped, trained soldiers who knew what they were doing. Britain could be compared as shambles to Germany's response to Dunkirk. I think Dunkirk is mainly a disaster because Britain failed their mission to protect France from Hitler's army attacking. Also, Britain lost huge amounts of money due to machinery such as vehicles and guns was destroyed or abandoned and even though morale was on a high in Britain the soldiers who had witnessed this event felt ashamed of running away like cowards. I think it was stupid of Churchill to send untrained soldiers to France on a very important mission, this shows how very little organisation there was. Also, Italy had seen this as a failure to Britain and looked at Germany as the stronger country and joined their side, as well as France just taken over leaving Britain alone. Dunkirk did also have upsides; it was a miracle how many people were actually 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 how many were rescued and unharmed. I think the British people's thoughts of Dunkirk were only a miracle as they were lead wrongly by the press and propaganda. They were told only good points about operation Dynamo and Dunkirk to keep morale up and not for people to doubt Churchill. So in conclusion, Dunkirk was a short-term disaster but a long-term defeat, (1605 words not including quotes.) ...read more.

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