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The Evacuation from Dunkirk was ? Great Disaster for Britain
The Dunkirk battle is an event which is among the biggest mysteries of the Second World War. Neither the Germans nor the Allies were clearing things up about what went during the battle but what came to common knowledge after many years was nothing more than a few personal accounts by former soldiers, a painting and a few articles in newspapers. What remained a mystery was what actually happened during the battle.
On the 10th of May, 1940, the Germans initiated the war over France and opened simultaneous fronts in Denmark and Belgium to gain their conquest of Europe even further. In the beginning, it all seemed like a cake walk for Hitler’s troops until there was some stiff resistance shown by France, who was later joined by Britain, but nothing seemed capable enough to stop the German war machine.
When German troop advance came to a halt at the Dunkirk, it came as a surprise to Allies. They wondered what could have stopped the Germans from moving ahead. This confusion rose to become a whole debate chapter which gave rise to mysterious story accounts. The reality is not known, though, what is known is that the Germans took their time to regroup, consolidate their powers to move for further chalenges coming ahead.
What can be said with surity is that Germans were not afraid, nor confused by the Allied prescence and all the stories in this regard should be taken with a reasonable doubt. They were in a very strong posititon and could have wiped the Allies out of Dunkirk at will. This was exactly what happened afterwards.
The German attack began witht he advancements in lower countries including Belgium, Denmark, etc. From there, they went on to invade France and later, Britain. However, both French and Brits came to the rescue for Belgians and Denmark. A fierce battle took place in the midst of Europe. British Expeditionary Force tried their best but were unable to prevent the fall.
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It was 14th May, 1940, when German heavy tank, Panzer, pierces through the British channel and the allies, France, Belgium and Britain, could not stop the German advance, let alone halt it. After six days of advance, Germans reached the coast by effectively cutting the British Expeditionary Force along with its allied troops into half. From there, they turned to north, by doing so they planned to capture the channel before the allied forces were able to evacuate the area.
Watching the victory in the process, Hitler ordered his commander, Rundstedt, to push the attack even further. However, Rundstedt analyzed the situation and concluced that troops had to hold their positions at southern and western borders of Dunkirk. He left the B group to handle the British Expeditionary Force, to confront it and eliminate it completely while they were additionally supported by air support.
Luftwaffe came in to provide support for Germans as their B group advanced further, plan was allowed by Hitler himself. On the same day, the BEF commander, Lord Gort, made the decision of evacuating the northern France as he saw the situation slipping out of hands.
“The artillery man told me that with thousands ?f others he had spent two days among the sand dunes with little food ?nd no shelter from German dive bombers, yet the men still joked, played cards ?nd even started ? football game t? keep up their spirits… A sailor told me that ? vessel ?n which he had been assisting ?n the Belgian coast had sunk. No sooner had he ?nd his comrades landed ?n England that they all volunteered t? go back ?t once.”
The source clearly shows how the soldiers tried t? survive ?t Dunkirk ?nd t? live up the gruesome condition ?t the port. There were constant attacks of Germans ?nd soldiers had no place t? hide except the open beach. In addition, there were food shortages ?nd survival became very difficult for the people there.
The people still were united ?nd worked for the nations benefit. The sailors contributed t? helping theses people, they volunteered ?n going t? Dunkirk t? rescue soldiers, despite the fact that there was ? bloodshed.
It was stated that the naval officer was sent t? evacuate just 5000 men, but they returned with ?n inflamed amount ?f 20000 with still ? queue ?f ? thousand waiting t? be evacuated. There were soldiers who were numbed with shock, they restlessly tried t? board the ships. This was mainly ? reaction for misery ?nd lack ?f food ?nd shelter ?t Dunkirk. They even still had more difficulties like having cold water. In addition, most ?f the men were already tired. The men were even trying t? get away from the Germans, which implies the Germans were still going t? come back t? them ?n England ?s they were fleeing. They even abandoned dozens ?f horses ?n the sands, which made ?t look more ?f disaster.
While some soldiers were evacuated, those who were left behind waited for the next ship. They stood by the beach hoping t? reach home safely ?nd survive the bombings ?nd shelling by German. It was planned that 45000 men would be evacuated ?n two days, the soldiers lined ?nd prepared for their turn. Due to the continuous German attacks, only night time operations were conducted because a daytime action was expected by the Luftwaffe. It is a great mystery why British and Aliied Generals called a massive evacuation as a “Glory” because when Churchill heard this, he ordered to stop calling an evacation a “glory”. The Germans won the battle of Dunkirk without a doubt, but there was still plenty left to fight for. France had a long battle before seeing the light of day.
The bombings had contracted the perimeter ?f Dunkirk beaches. The soldiers ?nd troops waited by the beach while the Royal Air Force battled t? keep the German forces away from the port. The photographs showed the misery ?nd disparity ?f the people ?t the port who waited by the shore t? be rescued.
With no shelter, the soldiers waited under the open sky t? be evacuated by the ships. They waited with no food ?nd no shelter from the bombardments. The soldiers were killed ?nd the corpses were left t? rot ?t the beach. The source clearly shows the gruesome condition there, the postures ?f the soldiers show the sadness ?nd disparity that prevailed ?t Dunkirk. With no place t? go, the soldiers waited for the forces t? evacuate them back t? their hometown.
Hitler did not launch ? fully-fledged attack ?n the Allies. However, constant bombing ?nd shelling were done by the German air forces. A large number ?f people were killed. With no place t? hide, the Allies were open t? all the bombardments.
The German pilots bombarded the beach ?nd destroyed numerous vessels during the evacuation. These attacks were fought back ?nd resisted by the Royal Air Force (RAF) that saved the operation from failure. Still, many people were killed ?nd ? lot ?f blood was shed, despite all this, the British were able t? evacuate large number ?f men from this war zone, which was turning into ? blood field with every second.
A German fighter quoted “I hated Dunkirk. It was just cold-blooded killing. The beaches were jammed with soldiers. I went up ?nd down spraying them with bullets.”
The above source clearly defines the conditions ?f Dunkirk. There were many killings, people were rained with bullets ?nd ? lot ?f ruthless killings took place. The Allies were first trapped ?n ?n area from where there was no escape, no shelter ?nd then they were brutally martyred by the Germans who were later joined by Italians.
Also, from the photographs taken ?nd the painted pictures, ?t was clearly shown how people were eager t? go home. Since the Dunkirk’s beach ?s ?t slope bigger ships could not come ?nd that is why small boats were sent. This increased the time ?nd reduced mobility. The troops would wait ?n agony for their turn ?nd try t? motivate themselves t? survive ?n those dark times.
The German fighters were also not ?n favour ?f this warfare ?nd brutality. As mentioned ?n the source, the fighters felt bad ?nd considered these attacks ?s cold blooded. They wanted this agony t? end fast ?nd wanted peace ?nd tranquillity too.
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People ?t Dunkirk, ?s said by the German fighter, were ?n great number. The evacuations were very slow ?nd the attacks reduced the commutation furthermore. The soldiers were surriunded at the ports ?nd the Germans availed this opportunity t? its maximum. A lot ?f blood was shed, many soldiers were killed ?nd many bodies were left t? rot ?t the beaches. The survivors were welcomed at home warmly ?nd were treated by their country ?s ‘heroes’. However, there was ? huge crowd ?f people who could not make ?t back t? their hometown, despite the attempts made by the Royal Forces.
The evacuator’s story
The incident ?f Dunkirk varied from people t? people. What happened actually ?s still under debate. Where there was ? viewpoint ?f people dying ?nd the continuous bombardment ?f bullets ?n the soldiers ?f the Allies, there are people who consider all these details ?s ‘overrated’.
General Franklyn said: “The evacuation has been glamorised. Reports ?f ‘merciless bombings’ ?nd ‘the hell ?f Dunkirk’ were ridiculous. I walked around the beaches ?n several occasions ?nd never saw ? corpse; there was little shelling.”
The Allies, however, have ? different view about these events. They believed that all these facts ?nd stories about the Dunkirk were exaggerated, hundreds ?f people killed ?nd the picture ?f terror that had been drawn was just ‘glamorising’ the event. The commander himself stated that there was no such thing ?s rain ?f bullets, even the shelling was ?t ? very minute level. In addition, the statement that many people died ?nd that the beach was covered with corpses was rejected by him. He said that he himself was there ?nd he saw no sign ?f corpse ?t the beach.
Connections between facts & Bias
It can be said that the commander was trying t? cover up the mishap ?nd the defeat ?f the Allies. This viewpoint ?s totally opposite from that ?f the German fighter. The facts were twisted ?nd changed ?s the other sources also show that there was ? lot ?f chaos ?nd bloodshed ?t Dunkirk. In addition, the shifting ?f the evacuation t? night also shows that the people ?f Dunkirk were constantly attacked by the German air forces.
The Divisional Commander ?n his statement has straight forwardly rejected the facts ?nd supported the point that there was no extreme agony ?r cold-blooded killing ?t Dunkirk. The situation, according t? him, was under control ?nd the evacuation, ?n his opinion, was ? miracle on its own.
It can be said that The Commander’s viewpoint was just ? cover up for the defeat ?nd the disaster ?f Britain ?t Dunkirk as ?t can be seen from the speech ?f Churchill and from the article ?n BBC website. As iit can be understood from the source, the condition ?f the soldiers ?t Dunkirk was very gruesome. The Allies were clearly defeated ?nd barely survived the German attacks. Winston Churchill ?n his speech tried t? convey ? message to people who were hiding ?n ? shell ?f lies. The British people were ?n ? shell ?nd had ? false believe that they would survive that dark time ?nd that there was no other option except evacuating Dunkirk ?nd saving the entire nation.
The Dunkirk resulted ?s ? big disaster for Britain, many soldiers died ?nd their corpses were left t? rot ?t the beach. The condition was gruesome their ?nd the leaders ?nd commanders hid the facts. Churchill clearly showed his condolences for the martyrs ?f the war ?n his speech, he stated the condition ?t Dunkirk ?s ? ‘military disaster’. This shows that Britain was under ? big disaster ?nd that the war was already lost. The European troops, especially the BET, and French Army did their best to cover the actual story from the public and media, but some accounts became famous. Although, there were many versions created by twisting the actual story of the battle, none of them stood the test of time and were busted by either the soldiers themselves or by the media. Winston Churchill clearly called it a dismal defeat and a colossial memory of British military might.
These battles were debated over by many people ?nd many books were written. Different evacuees ?nd evacuators were interviewed t? know the real story ?f Dunkirk evacuation. Many labelled this evacuation ?s misery ?nd disaster for the Britain economy, while others considered ?t to be ? miracle. Looking ?t the sources ?t can be said that the condition ?f Dunkirk was ? disaster for the soldiers present ?t that beach where there was continuous shelling ?f bullets ?t them. However, the way ?n which the majority ?f the soldiers were evacuated safely was ? miracle on its own.
The story highlighted the events that happened ?n the battlefield ?nd how people were forced t? take part ?n the war ?nd fight for the country. The story revolves around the boy who ?s first accused ?f ? crime ?nd jailed. Then, he was released ?n the condition ?f taking part ?n the ongoing World War II.
The evacuation was ? very dark time ?n the history ?f Britain that left ?n ever-lasting impact ?n the survivors ?nd their families. It was ? disaster for many ?nd the evacuation itself ?s ? miracle for others. The topic ?s still under debate ?nd the events are still remembered ?s ?f they happened just yesterday.
Evaluating the evidence’s authenticity
Both Germans and Allies have presented their respective versions of the event, but we have not found any concrete evidence to verify what exactly happened. Many question marks are raised by the “sudden” halt of advancing German troops.
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Also, when Hitler was in direct command of the expedition, why the order was initiated by Gerd von Rundstedt ?nd Günther von Kluge and accepted by troops in the first place? When Germans were in a commanding position, why they would hold back and give the enemy enough time to consolidate its strength?
Adding to the confusion of the event, the Allies have a different story to tell. Apart from their usual tales, as noted in the Daily Mail edition of June 1, 1940, in which the newspaper has published various interviews of personnel who participated in the operation, and a painting depicting the “Allied version of the battle” that was made by Charles Cundale, who himself was a former British Army employee, there is no other evidence that could establish the authenticity of the event.
The viewpoints have differed greatly, s? ?t was hard t? give ? final verdict ?s t? whether the evacuation ?t Dunkirk was ? disaster for the British people ?r not. However, ?t can be said that ? lot ?f blood was shed ?nd many people were killed. There were many cold-blooded killings ?nd ?t was ? time ?f great disparity. The nation was united by ?t ?nd got out ?f this ?s ? stronger country.
Summary & Conclusion
What is validated by the history is that the Germans swept the Allies in two directions and Allies had little to fight for. As a consequence, both British and French evacuated the battle quite early, but held their troop withdrawl a little late. What historians agree upon is that the Allies had too many casualties and morale was always going down which led to an evacuation in a disorganized manner.
For the sake of face saving, they created stories of confusion among German high command and a delay in final attack, however, Britain and France were totally confused and did not know how to handle the pressure and eventually they had to evacuate 345000 troops in a hurry. Also, history validates the fact that most of these troops made their decisions to evacuate the ground by means of their own capacities. The defeat was inevitable, which left Germans as the dominating force in the whole Europe. To this day, there is no concrete evidence regarding the Allience’s version of story, but what is agreed upon is that they left the battle ground in a hurry and the Germans stood firm, cementing their place as the victors of Dunkirk Battle. The German battle plan must also be appreciated as it was decided to attack France through “low countries” including Holland, Belgium and Luxemberg, in doing so they surprised not only France, but British military as well. The battle of Dunkirk stands as one of the most humiliating military events in the recent history of British Armed Forces, something they should not and must not hide from the world.
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