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Dunkirk is called a “miracle” in the history of Britain but was it really a miracle or just a great disaster hidden from the public? In May 1940 Germans had the allies trapped at the coast of Dunkirk in France and were closing in. Winston Churchill decided to call in an evacuation plan and rescued 338,000 thousand soldiers through the help of the English Navy and 860 privately owned naval vessels while being bombed by Luftwaffe and artillery . They got support from RAF against the Luftwaffe and the artillery.
It was considered a disaster due to 68 thousand casualties of BEF, 1,200 field guns, 1,250 anti-aircraft guns, 11,000 machine guns, and 75,000 vehicles abandoned (including 500 tanks). Dunkirk was considered to be a victory publicly; firstly because disasters and bad news were censored from public by the news to keep morale high at home. This was done so people don’t feel bad about the war and give up. Another reason why Dunkirk is referred to as a “miracle” is simply because the Germans should have, and could have, easily wiped out the BEF.
The German high command halted as the army was about to go for the kill on orders from Hitler who at times lost his nerve temporarily. If he had not halted his army then the BEF would have been overrun. Goering promised to destroy the allies with the Luftwaffe but despite the intense attack by the German air force, thousands of British soldiers escaped which again shows a miracle. Dunkirk was also a psychological victory for England because it showed they were hurt but not out of the war.
Germany had won the battle of Dunkirk, but despite the beating England received, it managed to rescue 338,000 men which completely exceeded their target of 50,000. Dunkirk stands out as a triumph for England because it showed that it would not quit and the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany can be traced back to this “miracle” at Dunkirk as it showed strength and stopped the Nazi’s from attack Great Britain further and it gave them breathing space.
On the other hand Dunkirk was considered as a defeat hidden from the public and this is because there were 68 thousand BEF casualties which could have been avoided as they misjudged where the German attack was coming from and this caught them completely off guard and lead them to surrender. Another big loss was that during the military retreat 1,200 field guns, 1,250 anti-aircraft guns, 11,000 machine guns, 75,000 vehicles abandoned (incl. 75 tanks) which cost a lot and were now in German hands. Germans could use them against the British. Germans fully expected Britain to make peace and this meant that less casualties and no more fighting but because Britain carried on it just agitated the Germans. After a few days from Dunkirk, Germans bombed a troopship in the French port of Saint-Nazaire and this killed 8 thousand men.
Overall, Dunkirk was a moral victory for the British and a vital one too because it meant the army was happy and so was the country. It also gave the British time to regroup and recover from constant attacks. Germany on the other hand also considered it as a win because they now had full control over France and had lots of prisoners and military vehicles which they had salvaged. In the end it was a triumph as it gave the British a vital morale boost which helped them in the on-going war.