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In the stories from history, certain events stand out as extraordinary displays of human resilience and solidarity.

One such event is the evacuation of Dunkirk during World War II.

Against all odds, the allied forces executed a remarkable rescue mission that saved hundreds of thousands of lives and altered the course of the war. The operation, known as the "Miracle of Dunkirk," remains etched in our collective memory as a testament to the indomitable spirit of humanity in the face of adversity.

It happened early in World War II between the end of May and the beginning of June 1940.

As German forces rapidly advanced through France, over 400,000 Allied soldiers found themselves trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk. The situation was dire, with the enemy closing in and the prospects of escape looking bleak. It was a pivotal moment in the war, and the fate of the Allied forces hung in the balance.


Escape from Dunkirk: The Miracle of the British Evacuation The Battle of Dunkirk was one of the great battles of WW2. Between May 30 and June 3, 1940 - small ships transported the soldiers from the Dunkirk beaches to the naval vessels lying off the coast of France - away from the advancing German troops. The Dunkirk Evacuation was termed the "miracle" of Dunkirk, by Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Relive this incredible story of Operation Dynamo.

Germany was also forbidden to have an army or any military capability and was also forbidden to have an army or any military capability The manufacture of arms or armaments was equally prohibited. Iin addition a huge War debt was imposed upon Germany as reparation which caused hardship for the country's population throughout the 1920's. Such reprisals, although understandable,  were unrealistic creating a potentially dangerous atmosphere of Injustice.

This left the German people desperate for a strong leader who would take them out of poverty and into prosperity  - and Adolf Hitler seemed to fit the bill perfectly He cast aside the Treaty of Versailles and started to rebuild the German military,  set the armaments factories back into production and restored a sense of national pride.

Hitler also gave vent to his own personal anti-semitic prejudices by offering the German people a scapegoat for all their troubles - namely the Jews. 


Germany's European neighbours and Great Britain across the English Channel looked on in horror and disbelief at the actions of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi followers as war with Germany for the second time in the 20th century became even more of a possibility. 

Hitler was born in Austria although he later took German citizenship and in 1938 he stormed into his former homeland. It was the first country on his list of conquests. Then Hitler turned towards Czechoslovakia - at which point the rest of the world realised just how dangerous Germany was becoming. 

Britain's new prime minister Neville Chamberlain flew out to Germany in 1938 to broker a peaceful settlement. When he returned, clutching the signed Munich Pact he declared that " it was peace in our time " 


Hitler treated the Munich pact with the same contempt he'd applied to the post-WW I Treaty of Versailles . With no warning whatsoever, the German Army marched into Czechoslovakia and on the 1st of September 1939 began their occupation of Poland. 

The Allied nations of Britain and France had promised protection to Poland securing the knowledge that negotiations were underway with the Russians to join the alliance but Hitler was at least a step ahead of them; already allied with Italy, Japan, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria to form the Axis Powers.

Hitler had already negotiated a non-aggression pact with Stalin and the Russians. It was indeed a great blow to the British and the French were left alone without Russian support; yet they stood by their promise to Poland.  The then Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain gave Hitler an ultimatum: either the German Army was to withdraw from Poland by 11 AM on Sunday the 3rd of September or a state of War would exist between Britain and Germany. As the time ticked by there was no word from Hitler and just 15 minutes after the deadline,  Chamberlain took to the airwaves and informed the British nation that they were now at war with Germany. 


The men of Britain joined the Armed Forces and children were evacuated from the nation's cities to the safety of the countryside.  

The British Expeditionary Force ( more commonly known as the BEF )  was dispatched to the Franco-Belgium Border. As 1940 progressed, Hitler's stranglehold on the countries the Germans had already occupied increased and his forays into new territories became more and more audacious. On the 10th of May, the Blitzkrieg began

The Nazis marched into the neutral low countries of Holland Belgium and Luxembourg. It was a vicious onslaught, as civilians were targeted by the luftwaffe in particular and Terror reigned across Europe.

In Britain, confidence in Neville Chamberlain's government had reached an all-time low as the Nazi threat grew more menacing.

On the 10th of May, as Hitler's Blitzkrieg began, Prime Minister Chamberlain resigned and was succeeded by Winston Churchill. it was an appointment that would Inspire the British people throughout the forthcoming War years, as Churchill offered his own blood toil tears and sweat. His speeches and actions as PM would literally change the course of history.



Within days of his appointment, a call went out to the boat enthusiasts of the nation.  On the 14th of May, the admiralty made an order requiring all owners of self-propelled pleasure craft between 30 and 100 feet in length to send particulars of them to the admiralty within 14 days. Offers of small craft flooded in and a People's Navy was literally put on standby.

Little time elapsed before the situation across the channel changed dramatically:  France was suddenly Under Siege from the Germans. The BEF found itself caught in a seemingly inescapable trap between a pincer movement of land attacks. The Luftwaffe bombarded France from the skies - London quickly realised that the forced retreat to the coast would result in disaster.

Half a million Allied troops including French and Belgium soldiers were cut off by the Germans and it was estimated and there would only be the opportunity to rescue about 45 000 men.

The shortest route to Britain would have been between Calais and Dover but Dunkirk was certainly a viable option. The shallow waters along the port's neighboring beaches meant that there was going to be a problem getting large Naval vessels close enough to evacuate the BEF.


The Evacuation Plan:

In the face of this unprecedented crisis, the British launched Operation Dynamo—a daring plan to evacuate the stranded troops. The operation involved mobilizing a flotilla of naval vessels, including warships, destroyers, and civilian boats, to ferry the soldiers across the English Channel to safety.

The Miracle Unfolds:

From May 26 to June 4, 1940, the evacuation of Dunkirk unfolded with astonishing resolve and coordination. The beaches of Dunkirk were transformed into a scene of chaos and despair as soldiers, often standing shoulder to shoulder, awaited their turn to board the rescue vessels. The German Luftwaffe subjected them to relentless bombings, wreaking havoc and instilling terror. Yet, amidst the mayhem, acts of heroism and compassion emerged.


Civilian vessels, from fishing boats to pleasure crafts, answered the call of duty, braving treacherous waters and enemy fire to reach the stranded soldiers. The Little Ships of Dunkirk, as they came to be known, made repeated trips, shuttling troops from the shore to the larger naval vessels offshore. Their unwavering courage and selflessness embodied the spirit of the entire operation.

The Outcome:

Despite the overwhelming odds stacked against them, the Allied forces successfully evacuated approximately 338,000 soldiers from Dunkirk. It was an extraordinary achievement that defied expectations and preserved a significant portion of the British Expeditionary Force, providing a critical foundation for future Allied operations.


The Impact:

The evacuation of Dunkirk had far-reaching consequences for the war effort. The saved soldiers became a nucleus around which the British forces could regroup and continue the fight against the Axis powers. Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister at the time, recognised the significance of this operation, hailing it as a "miracle of deliverance" and urging the nation to be proud of their resolve and resilience.

The operation also fostered a profound sense of national unity and gratitude. The public rallied together, embracing the spirit of the Dunkirk spirit, and celebrating the ordinary men and women who had become heroes. The bravery exhibited during the evacuation bolstered the morale of the British people and strengthened their determination to withstand the trials of war.

The evacuation of Dunkirk stands as a testament to the unwavering human spirit in times of immense adversity. Against all odds, the Allied forces and civilian volunteers orchestrated a rescue mission that defied expectations and saved hundreds of thousands of lives. The Miracle of Dunkirk remains etched in our history, a symbol of hope and courage that serves as a reminder of the indomitable resilience of the human spirit.

So what has happened to that spirit of patriotism and unity?  

It was the little boats, the average citizen who rose to the challenge all those years ago. We are facing no less of a threat today with invasionary forces gathering all around us. In fact, they have already breached the borders of our nations. 

In times of conflict and war, we need strong men at the helm. Or, as one commenter said on an earliuer article, we will sink more slowly than the Titanic, but will still be sunk. 

Surely it is time to get back to real men, real heroes, real patriots and real unity and start to fight back? 


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