Was Dunkirk a Triumph or a Disaster? Why?

1160 words 5 pages
Dunkirk battle could be called a failure or success depending on the viewpoint. From 27th May to 4th June the British Expeditionary Force with the remainder of the French and Belgian armies were attacked from behind by the Germans while waiting for a ‘ferry service’ back to Britain.

After their defeat at Calais, in May 1940, the British army were ordered to retreat from the area and get to the coastal area of Dunkirk no matter what. There they would be rescued by the British naval forces. However, the Brits were left waiting until the 27th of May. Whilst the German Luftwaffe was bombing them from above and the land army was shelling them from below, the Allied troops waited and took the best cover possible. All they could do was wait.
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The men saved would have otherwise taken eighteen years to replace. Due to this, Dunkirk was a military victory.
Another reason that Dunkirk was a success was that it allowed Britain to salvage their land. During Dunkirk, had Germany made a determined effort to destroy the army of the Allies, the war would not have been won due to the huge number of losses that would have been incurred by the Allies. As it was, the French had lost thousands of tonnes of equipment and more men during the Battle for France and Calais, and so had the Brits. Conversely, the German high command halted as the army was about to begin a manned battle (on orders from Hitler). This was because Hermann Goering, commander of the German Air Force, promised to destroy the Allied troops with the Luftwaffe. However, despite the intense attack by the German air force, thousands of British soldiers escaped to fight another day. This won the war for the Allies as the remaining troops were able to channel their experience into defending Britain from her enemies during the Battle of Britain. In fact, the saved Poles and Czechs achieved a higher kill ratio during the aforementioned battle, and the French saved returned to their homeland spy for the Allies and back up the Rèsistance. In fact, it is fair to say that the Battle of Dunkirk changed the entire balance of the war. Because of this, Dunkirk can be considered a military and national victory.
Dunkirk was also a psychological success. The fact that