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The Battle Of Dunkirk: A Tactical Defeat

1611 words - 6 pages

The Battle of Dunkirk happened in Northern France between May 26 and June 4 1940 and was a major battle of the Second World War which occurred between 1939-1945. The Second World War was very different to the first with rapid movement covering huge amounts of land in very little time. This was due to the German Army’s speed which used “Blitzkrieg” or “Lightning war” tactics.
Prior to the invasion of France there had been 7 months of “Phoney war”; However the French had anticipated the attack and established “The Maginot line” which was a line of defence designed to hold the German army back. Despite this the Battle of France began on the 10th May 1940 when German Army group B subdued Holland and advanced rapidly westwards through Belgium.
Just a few days later Army Group A attacked the Ardennes and continued West before turning North towards the English channel and the Ports of Dunkirk and Calais.
These sudden but effective attacks by the Germans left the Allies on the retreat a series of counter attacks including the Battle of Arras couldn’t stop the German advance and left the Allies trapped between the enemy and the English Channel.
The British Government knew that they could not allow these troops to be massacred as it would leave South-East England within the grasp of a German invasion. So on May 27th 1940 Operation Dynamo was put into action to evacuate the troops through Royal and Merchant Navy vessels.
The evacuation of 338,000 troops from Dunkirk was greatly exploited by British Propaganda and gave rise to the “Dunkirk Spirit” and the story of “The little ships” is now a story told all over Britain and represents the solidarity of the British in times of great adversity. Dunkirk is now part of British Culture and has been a part of many media features including the 2004 BBC re-enactment “Dunkirk” and was even portrayed in the novel “Atonement” and its 2007 film adaptation.
Despite its acclaim as a victory for the British Public it is regarded widely amongst historians as a decisive German victory the loss of men, munitions and vehicles was still greatly affecting Britain in the North Africa campaign some two years later.

Many people hold the belief that Dunkirk was a miracle as the troops were facing almost certain annihilation trapped between the enemy and miles of sea. However over 300,000 troops were successfully rescued and evacuated back to Britain.

Source 2 is a valid source as it is a textbook extract with accurate statistics from a reliable source. The Source tells of the many positive aspects of the Battle of Dunkirk; including, the number of troops, heavy guns and vehicles successfully evacuated. As well as the effects of the Battle on affairs such as politics and the British public’s view of the armed forces. The source is taken from a school history textbook called Essential Modern World History published in 2003; and written by Ben Walsh. The purpose of this source is to educate students so the information...

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