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The bomb loads it could carry were too small, the targets too numerous. The effect of the attack on the civilian population was more difficult to assess. The fact was that no people had ever before been subjected to bombardment from the air for such a sustained period.

The Man Who Saved Western Civilization -- And How He Did It

The terror and helplessness experienced by people threatened by the bombs are captured in every diary and letter from the period. The casualties suffered during the Blitz of about 40, dead may seem small in comparison to later aerial campaigns but they were unprecedented at the time. In the event, the mood of the country was resolute. So Britain would survive. But Britain in was fighting for more than its own survival. It was better to have a continental ally than not. But while Dunkirk was in progress Churchill ordered that the French be evacuated in equal numbers.

As it happened they were not, but , French troops were lifted to safety during the evacuation. During May and June he offered the French a steady supply of fighters over and above what his own experts told him Britain must keep at home for its own safety. During the last few visits Churchill made to France he assured the leadership that Britain would see their country restored.

The offer of Union would have been of little benefit to Britain. The overwhelming likelihood was that it would not. Churchill, then, was appealing to something beyond material assistance to Britain when he offered the Union to France. He was appealing to the French to stay in the fight as part of a larger unity that we can call the West and that he sometimes categorized as Christian civilization.

However, his attitude to France was always tempered by the fact that it had fought the Germans and that many of its troops had fought very hard. When it came to the Americans in , Churchill showed no such understanding. His appeals to President Roosevelt for aid were often coupled with an appeal for the United States to join the fight for civilized values. He spoke of the barbaric policies being pursued by Nazi Germany, the many atrocities committed by them in Occupied Europe, and how America would assist the free world to thwart Hitler.

But none of this led Roosevelt to take America into the war. Even economic aid came at the highest price it was thought Britain could afford. And Lend-Lease was only enacted when the administration realized that Britain was running out of dollars, that it might default on contracts to American suppliers, and that it might be forced out of the war.

Roosevelt did not want Britain to leave the war but he was willing to risk it, hence his constant badgering of Churchill on the fate of the British fleet. In the end Roosevelt was not even willing to follow public opinion. When 70 percent of his countrymen thought America should even risk war to aid the British, Roosevelt remained resolute for inaction. There was no meeting of minds between the two statesmen in this period, no hint of a special relationship.

Somewhat ironically, the popular view that Churchill and Roosevelt were of one mind in was largely created by Churchill. In his morale-raising wartime speeches he often held out the hope of immediate American intervention and made much of the aid Britain was receiving from the US. And his war memoirs, which might have taken a different line, were written during the Cold War when the friendship and aid of America to Britain and Europe were vital. For Roosevelt there was no conception that America should join Britain in the fight for something larger than survival.

The Man Who Saved Western Civilization -- And How He Did It

For Roosevelt the survival of Fortress America seemed to be sufficient. For Churchill this was never the case. From the moment Britain entered the war and he held high office, his speeches made constant reference to the fact that the war was being waged to ensure the survival of the West. In his first speech as First Lord of the Admiralty he emphasized that this was not just a war for Danzig and Poland but for the rights of the individual. When Churchill became Prime Minister he continued with this theme.

Of the total , soldiers, several hundred were unarmed Indian mule handlers on detachment from the Royal Indian Army Service Corps , forming four of the six units of Force K-6 transport. Cypriot muleteers were also present. Three units were successfully evacuated and one captured. The next day, an additional 53, men were embarked, [9] including the first French soldiers. The remainder of the rearguard, 40, French troops, surrendered on 4 June.

Three routes were allocated to the evacuating vessels. This route followed the French coast as far as Bray-Dunes , then turned north-east until reaching the Kwinte Buoy.

The new PM’s decision to fight rather than talk was courageous – and right, says Boris Johnson

You knew this was the chance to get home and you kept praying, please God, let us go, get us out, get us out of this mess back to England. To see that ship that came in to pick me and my brother up, it was a most fantastic sight. We saw dog fights up in the air, hoping nothing would happen to us and we saw one or two terrible sights. Then somebody said, there's Dover, that was when we saw the White Cliffs , the atmosphere was terrific. From hell to heaven was how the feeling was, you felt like a miracle had happened.

The Merchant Navy supplied passenger ferries, hospital ships, and other vessels.

Britain's Belgian, Dutch, Canadian, [4] and French allies provided vessels as well. Admiral Ramsay arranged for around a thousand copies to be made of the required charts, had buoys laid around the Goodwin Sands and down to Dunkirk, and organised the flow of shipping. The soldiers mostly travelled on the upper decks for fear of being trapped below if the ship sank.

A wide variety of small vessels from all over the south of England were pressed into service to aid in the Dunkirk evacuation. They included speedboats, Thames vessels, car ferries, pleasure craft , and many other types of small craft. Agents of the Ministry of Shipping , accompanied by a naval officer, scoured the Thames for likely vessels, had them checked for seaworthiness, and took them downriver to Sheerness , where naval crews were to be placed aboard.

Due to shortages of personnel, many small craft crossed the Channel with civilian crews. The first of the "little ships" arrived at Dunkirk on 28 May. But at times, panicky soldiers had to be warned off at gunpoint when they attempted to rush to the boats out of turn. Before the operation was completed, the prognosis had been gloomy, with Churchill warning the House of Commons on 28 May to expect "hard and heavy tidings". Three British divisions and a host of logistic and labour troops were cut off to the south of the Somme by the German "race to the sea".

The majority of the 51st Highland Division was forced to surrender on 12 June, but almost , Allied personnel, , of them British, were evacuated through various French ports from 15—25 June under the codename Operation Ariel. The more than , French troops evacuated from Dunkirk were quickly and efficiently shuttled to camps in various parts of south-western England, where they were temporarily lodged before being repatriated. For many French soldiers, the Dunkirk evacuation represented only a few weeks' delay before being killed or captured by the German army after their return to France.

In France, the unilateral British decision to evacuate through Dunkirk rather than counter-attack to the south, and the perceived preference of the Royal Navy for evacuating British forces at the expense of the French, led to some bitter resentment. The evacuation was presented to the German public as an overwhelming and decisive German victory. On 5 June , Hitler stated "Dunkirk has fallen! Immeasurable quantities of materiel have been captured.

The greatest battle in the history of the world has come to an end. The BEF lost 68, soldiers dead, wounded, missing, or captured from 10 May until the armistice with France on 22 June. Six British and three French destroyers were sunk, along with nine other major vessels. In addition, 19 destroyers were damaged. The RAF lost aircraft, of which at least 42 were Spitfires , while the Luftwaffe lost aircraft in operations in the nine days of Operation Dynamo, [] including 35 destroyed by Royal Navy ships plus 21 damaged during the six days from 27 May to 1 June.

For every seven soldiers who escaped through Dunkirk, one man was left behind as a prisoner of war. The majority of these prisoners were sent on forced marches into Germany. Prisoners reported brutal treatment by their guards, including beatings, starvation, and murder. Another complaint was that German guards kicked over buckets of water that had been left at the roadside by French civilians for the marching prisoners to drink. Many of the prisoners were marched to the city of Trier , with the march taking as long as 20 days. Others were marched to the river Scheldt and were sent by barge to the Ruhr.

The prisoners were then sent by rail to prisoner of war camps in Germany. Those of the BEF who died or were captured and have no known grave are commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial.

Canadian Journal of History

The St George's Cross defaced with the arms of Dunkirk flown from the jack staff is the warranted house flag of the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships. It is known as the Dunkirk jack. The flag is flown only by civilian vessels that took part in the Dunkirk rescue operation. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Battle of France. Further information: Battle of France.


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Main article: Battle of Dunkirk. See also: List of ships at Dunkirk. Main article: Little Ships of Dunkirk. See also: Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Atkin, Ronald Pillar of Fire: Dunkirk Bajwa, Mandeep Singh 19 May Hindustan Times. Retrieved 18 August Biswas, Soutik 27 July BBC News. Retrieved 5 August Blaxland, Gregory Destination Dunkirk: The story of Gort's Army. London: William Kimber. Chessum, Victoria 9 June Kent Online. Retrieved 2 December Churchill, Winston Their Finest Hour. The Second World War.

When Britain and France Almost Merged Into One Country

Boston; Toronto: Houghton Mifflin. In Churchill, Winston S. Never Give In!

New York: Hyperion. Cooper, Matthew Mazal Holocaust Collection. Costello, John Ten Days That Saved the West. London; New York: Bantam. Dildy, Douglas C. Dunkirk Operation Dynamo. Oxford: Osprey. Ellis, Major L. Butler, J. The War in France and Flanders — English, John Amazon to Ivanhoe: British Standard Destroyers of the s. Kendal, England: World Ship Society. Fermer, Douglas Forczyk, Robert In another country, the debate might therefore have been at an end. He had been prime minister for less than three weeks, and it was far from clear who were his real allies round the table.

Attlee and Greenwood, the Labour contingent, were broadly supportive; and the same can be said for Sinclair the Liberal. But it was the Tories on whom he depended for his mandate — and the Tories were far from sure about Winston Churchill. Neville Chamberlain, second left, meeting Mussolini in Rome. From his very emergence as a young Tory MP he had bashed and satirised his own party; he had then deserted them for the Liberals, and though he had eventually returned to the fold, there were too many Tories who thought of him as an unprincipled opportunist.

Halifax had been over to see Hitler in — and he had an embarrassing familiarity with Goering. But in his own way, Halifax was a patriot as much as Churchill. He thought he could see a way to protect Britain and to safeguard the Empire, and to save lives; and it is not as if he was alone.

The British ruling class was riddled with appeasers and pro-Nazis. Indeed, they saw fascism as a bulwark against the reds, and they had high-level political backing. This from the hero of the First World War! The Daily Mail had long been campaigning for Hitler to be given a free hand in eastern Europe, the better to beat up the bolshies.

The Times had been so pro-appeasement that the editor, Geoffrey Dawson, described how he used to go through the proofs taking out anything that might offend the Germans. The press baron Beaverbrook himself had sacked Churchill from his Evening Standard column on the grounds that he was too hard on the Nazis.

Of course, the mood had changed in the last year; feelings against Germany had hardened. All I am saying — in mitigation of Halifax — is that, in seeking peace, he had the support of many British people, at all levels of society. And so the argument went on, between Halifax and the prime minister, for that crucial hour. It was a stalemate; and it was now — according to most historians — that Churchill played his masterstroke. He announced that the meeting would be adjourned, and would begin again at 7pm. He then convened the Cabinet of 25, ministers from every department — many of whom were to hear him as prime minister for the first time.

The bigger the audience, the more fervid the atmosphere; and now he made an appeal to the emotions. Before the full Cabinet he made a quite astonishing speech — without any hint of the intellectual restraint he had been obliged to display in the smaller meeting.

If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground. At this the men in that room were so moved that they cheered and shouted, and some of them ran round and clapped him on the back. Churchill had ruthlessly dramatised and personalised the debate.

By the time the War Cabinet resumed at 7pm, the debate was over; Halifax abandoned his cause.