The events leading to the rescue operation at Dunkirk

Winston Churchill begins his “We Shall Fight on the Beaches” speech by describing the events that led to the Allied troops being trapped at Dunkirk.

He first emphasises the fact that a strategic mistake was made after the French were defeated at Sedan and Meuse. However, a retreat would have meant the destruction of Belgian troops. Churchill continues to highlight the efforts made by the French and British to defend Belgium, despite the German advance: “an effort was made by the French and British Armies in Belgium to keep on holding the right hand of the Belgians”.

Churchill compares the German army with a scythe (a tool used for cutting) to convey the brutality and effectiveness of the German attack. He goes on to describe how the Allied armies became isolated.

He describes how British divisions and French troops held off the Germans at Boulogne and Calais to explain why Dunkirk was not overrun.

In his speech, Churchill highlights the fact that the British intervened in Belgium - “even at the last moment we came.” - and commends the Belgian army for helping the British retreat to the sea. However, Churchill criticises King Leopold’s decision to surrender to the Germans, as this made the British and their retreat vulnerable.

Operation Dynamo

Operation Dynamo was a rescue operation during World War II (1939-1945 ) that took place between 26th of May and 4th of June, 1940, after the British and French soldiers that had advanced into Belgium to meet the German invasion were surrounded by German troops at Dunkirk on the French coast. The Allied troops were saved by a fleet of military and civilian ships, while the British air force provided cover from the attacks of the Germans.

The final solution for the British and French troops after being surrounded by German forces, Churchill explains, was to retreat to the port of Dunkirk. He gives a brief description ...

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