Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain - 'Dunkirk was a great deliverance and a great disaster (AJP Taylor). Is there sufficient evidence in sources A to G to support this interpretation?

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Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain

'Dunkirk was a great deliverance and a great disaster (AJP Taylor). Is there sufficient evidence in sources A to G to support this interpretation?

Dunkirk began the 24th May 1940, when French and English soldiers were trapped on the beach of Dunkirk fighting a losing battle against the Germans. So the British launched a desperate attempt to evacuate them back to British soil where they would be safe, known as operation dynamo. Soldiers were rescued from the beaches in France by the thousands; overall 350,000 were brought back to England with 139,997 French, almost all the BEF were saved.

I am going to read through all the sources and decide whether I agree with AJP Taylor's interpretation of the result of Dunkirk. To en able me to answer the question I will use a variety of sources from paintings, photographs, written extracts and a short video clip. It is important to look at each source and conclude the successes and disasters about Dunkirk. All the sources were made by British people therefore they may come across as biased.

Source A is a contemporary painting created by Charles Cundall, it shows the troops being rescued from the Dunkirk beaches. It is a secondary source, because, Charles Cundall wasn't actually at Dunkirk when it happened, this makes the source less reliable because it is an artist's impression. This source shows a lot of deliverance that also fits with my knowledge such as the many soldiers being rescued via pleasure boats, fishing boats etc to be rescued. There are big boats, small boats with all different appearances, because the public helped in this desperate attempt to evacuate the British and the French and save thousands of lives. In the background you can see the moles, which also became useful, they allowed bigger ships such as 'Queen of the channel', which rescues over 1000 people to come closer to the beaches. The weather was also a great deliverance because it was a clear day, which made French and English; able to see where they had to go and could also spot the enemy. This source provides sufficient evidence to suggest Dunkirk was deliverance. However the source also contains factors showing disaster. There is evidence of sinking boats, the high dark, balls of smoke and fire from the oil factories, this tells us that the Germans were accurate in there attack and created a lot of damage. Above the boats is evidence of Stuka dive-bombers, these dropping bombs on tankers or firing machine guns, giving the Germans an advantage of seeing all of there enemy. The men aren't organised on the beaches in lines, however on other sources they are. Missing from the source is the soldiers burying themselves in the sand as an act of defence. So overall there is not enough evidence to agree or disagree with AJP's interpretation of Dunkirk. This source is also biased towards the British and could be used as propaganda in the war to help boost morale and to convince people to recruit.

Source B is a photograph showing the troops waiting on the beaches to be rescued. This source shows British and French troops lining in organised lines. There look a high number of men being evacuated, which is a sign of great deliverance. However, there is no sign of boats, any weapons or any evidence of the Germans. Although the men are well organised on this source from my knowledge I know that they wasn't always so organised. The soldiers have no defence against the stuka dive-bombers and there is no sign of damage or any sign of boats rescuing them. This source as limitations it is only one small snapshot of the beach therefore you don't know what's happening further down. We do not know what time of day the source was created so maybe if it was made earlier or after, the scene may have been completely different. The men seem too calm to be real, which could be a sign that the source was staged, normally the atmosphere whilst a bomb attack isn't so calm. The photo is also at a distance therefore we cannot see as much detail as we would like. This source lacks evidence of delivery because there is many things missing that would fit with my knowledge there is also no evidence of disaster. It is also an example of British propaganda to help boost morale.
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Source C is also a photograph supposedly taken at Dunkirk in 1940. It shows British forces attacking the German Stuka Dive bombers, while a ship is moving closer, getting ready to evacuate the British and French forces from the beach. That suggests that Dunkirk was a huge success because lots of lives were saved on the beaches. Some things that suggest that Dunkirk was a disaster is the facts that there didn't appear too be many soldiers on the beach, which could suggest one of three things. The first one is that lots of men have been evacuated, ...

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