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Dunkirk introduction

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    From my knowledge I know that boats, ships and other vessels were in aid for the evacuation, making it as sufficient as possible.

    Sources 5 (i) by Major L.F Ellis, history of the WWII, source 16, J.B Priestley a popular speaker during WII and source 21 by General Sir Harold Franklyn, his experience of Dunkirk, they all suggests that the evacuation was calm and well -improvised.
    This source was written on the front page of the British newspaper, the daily express, 31st may 1940. Which makes this source not as valid as something that was written in 2003, so in conclusion the source doesn?t have the reliability as something else because it isn?t 100% accurate because some things could be made up for not accurate. The fact that this was written by a British newspaper could mean that it is slightly biased because British people want other citizens to think that they had won the war and make the country look good so they must have just written a few white lies. It is also one sided which makes it biased. The last source that supports Dunkirk was a triumph was source B7, which was written after Winston Churchill was speaking to parliament on June 4th 1940. This source in my opinion isn?t reliable because as soon as i see the date it was written it changes my mind because back then everything wasn?t confirmed and most of the news were lies, and to make it worse it was said by the British prime minister, this is because prime ministers would be upset even if they lost they would have to support their country no matter what so the prime minister said that it was a ?miracle? which was biased because it wasn?t. ...read more.

    Although there are many weaknesses in the reliability of these sources, source 5(i) was written by a major and the tone is very upbeat and patriotic so it shows Dunkirk in the best possible light. Sources 16 and 21 are biased in the sense that they don't fit in with my knowledge of what happened in Dunkirk. Source 16, was a radio broadcast at the time of the incident, probably used to boost Churchill's leadership and certainly used as a piece of propaganda to boost the spirit of the British.
    A myth surrounding Dunkirk is the extent of the "Little Ship's" participation. Although between them they lifted around 26,000 men, this was a mere 8% of the total evacuated. The British Government did not make they're appeal for civilian help until 3/4 of the BEF had already been evacuated.

    But overall these sources are well informed, source 16 was from a speaker so the knowledge must've been detailed and source 21 was an eyewitness account. Source 5(i) was an official account of the war, and it is specific to the incident and it shows the spirit of Dunkirk been created 'family affair' Linking with this the heroic side of Dunkirk was the spirit and the morale created throughout the whole evacuation, even when the Luftwaffe was bombing the beaches.
    This means that I have found the second understanding more convincing that Dunkirk was a defeat rather than a victory. This is due to the evidence of the following sources; B9, B13, B10 and B16. Its strengths include more primary sources then the triumphs, which mean less benefit to hindsight to alter opinions. The two most important sources out of the 16 listed, positive and negative is B9, which is the historian GCSE text book, which could reach a balanced judgment and B3. Source B3 it is also a GCSE text book which shows facts and figures and is very limited to opinions, but is entitled to people who are paid to write about history which is somewhat reliable. The weakest sources from both positive and negative listed is B16, a source which is very biased, based on a traitor who wanted to undermine the British?s confidence making it less reliable. The other weakest source is B5, a newspaper article which has been censored by the government and is only allowed to publish positive information, making it also biased like source B16 and less reliable. However, my conclusion is balanced because I have analysed all 16 sources. Eight negative and eight positive. I cross-referenced the sources, compared which is more reliable, primary or secondary sources? I reached a balanced judgement after outweighing the positive with the negatives, the reliable from the unreliable. The Battle of Dunkirk was a defeat. ...read more.

    The spirit and morale of the people are shown evidently in sources 2, a photograph showing the beaches, with equipments to facilitate the evacuation, source 11 from Churchill's memoir published 1959 and source 14(i) Charles Lighttoller, retired sailor, took his yacht Sundowner to Dunkirk. Its interesting to see that Source 2 shows the spirit the most, as the photos were probably taken by the Germans, to be used as a piece of propaganda. It indicates although low in resources, the troops trapped on the beach made the most of their equipment, building trucks to facilitate the evacuation.
    Numerous boats set out for Dunkirk with just a series of courses plotted on the back of an envelope, with no idea what awaited them. Ordinary citizens braved the harsh channel crossing and the deadly harbour, to bring back thousands of Allied troops.

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    Conclusion

    The success in Dunkirk also meant that USA would have been much more prepared to enter for what was essentially an European war. Although Germany claimed that Dunkirk wasn't of much significance to them, as their target location was France, this incident proves how people through sheer spirit and determination could escape from the Germans, it proves that defeating Germany later on was possible, and it was. This powerful message created was an inspiration for the rest of the world; this is why I know of Dunkirk, if Dunkirk wasn't important why is it common knowledge? From my knowledge and the sources I've studied, ask yourselves what was achieved by Dunkirk? Boost of Moral to the nation, American support - this process captured Americans sentiment, from my knowledge I know that they lent Britain material aids to recover, it made Churchill a best time War leader afterwards, had long-term effects on Germany and could be seen as the beginning of the end for Germany, use of propaganda, the involvement of the nation making it a family affair united the nation if the evacuation failed and Britain surrendered, Churchill with a quarter of a million men in captivity would have had to sign a peace treaty, and without the army, how would have Britain recovered? And most importantly, not the government estimation of 40,000 men saved but an actual total of around 340,000 Was it a Victory or was it a defeat?. Dunkirk did have its advantages, an amazing amount of troops were saved, spiritual boost to the nation, the fact that it might have contributed to the later defeat of Germany etc. But the reason why the French and British troops were trapped at the first place meant that this was a rescue mission, yes and luckily it succeed, but success with a price a phenomenal loss of military equipment and lives. And like Churchill said: - 'We must be very careful not to assign to this the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations' ...read more.

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    1. Dunkirk - Defeat, Deliverance or Victory?

      A depleted R.A.F lost 474 planes in nine days of Battle.

    2. The R.A.F. was already out numbered by Hitler's air force after Dunkirk the situation seemed bleak. After the rescue operation Britain's military forces were on their knees, they had lost a lot of weaponry, which would take weeks to

  • Source 4 by Basil Collier also shows Dunkirk as a military defeat by saying that whilst many men returned from Dunkirk practically all of their equipment was left behind, 'including some 600 tanks, more than a 1000 field guns or guns of larger calibre (to say nothing of about 500 anti aircraft guns)'

    1. People saw the soldiers as heroes and praised them but many of the soldiers felt this great feeling of guilt inside. Source 8 states 'they also abandoned 150,000 of their French allies to become prisoners of the Germans.' Britain's mission was to protect France from German attack and to stop Hitler's army entering.

    2. The source is fairly reliable as Churchill would have got all the first information first hand, however this also means Churchill would only give information about the evacuation that would boost-morale. Overall the source disagrees with the question. Sources B and D most definitely disagree with the interpretation.

      From my own knowledge I know that on the first day of evacuation, the 27th of May, there were ferocious air attacks from the opposition. It is possible to say that Dunkirk was also a military defeat due to the amount of weapons lost.

      The source on the previous page is an extract of a British Wartime newsreel shown to cinema audiences just after the Dunkirk Evacuation. The title of the newsreel is: 'Evacuation of the B.E.F. or The Greatest Epic of the War'.

      The survivors left 2500 big guns, 90 000 rifles and 64 vehicles behind them. They also abandoned 150 000 of their French allies to become prisoners of the Germans. This meant that all the allies cared about was escaping which wasn?t the point of war, war was taking place for

    3. Also as we assume it was taken by a German photographer, the photograph would have been taken from a certain angle to show the negativity. The Germans could have made the British look weak and the Germans strong by editing the picture; it only has the Germans point of view on this.

    4. download, 100 kb.
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    • 1. www.markedbyteachers.com/gcse/history/dunkirk-77099.html
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    • 2. www.markedbyteachers.com/gcse/history/the-evacuation-of-dunkirk.html
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    • 3. www.markedbyteachers.com/gcse/history/was-dunkirk-a-triumph.html
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