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Dunkirk Evacuation – Miracle & The Fight for Survival

On this day, the Allies concluded the famous Dunkirk evacuation, a daring operation that ended up rescuing hundreds of thousands of soldiers from Nazi Europe. This shining moment was a bright spot in a period, otherwise marked by defeat. But while not as dramatic as Stalingrad or the Battle of Britain, the evacuation of Dunkirk still played an important role, providing the means for the Allies to continue fighting.

Fleeing the Continent

The Dunkirk Evacuation first year of the war did not go for the Allies. Although they theoretically had an advantage over the Axis powers, Germany’s blitz into France caught the British and French armies on the back foot. Faced with the overwhelming armies of Germany, the Allied armies were smashed and forced to retreat across the country, abandoning large parts of it to Nazi occupation. 

Soon, the armies were pushed back to the coast of Dunkirk. Their victory was so complete that it seemed like a matter of time before the remains of the British, French, and Belgian troops, found themselves trapped with their backs to the sea.

However, in a desperate bid to save their army, the British launched Operation Dynamo. Despite heavy German bombardment, a flotilla of over 800 vessels, including naval ships, fishing boats, pleasure craft, and merchant marine boats, embarked on a perilous mission to rescue the stranded troops.

Dunkirk Evacuation Miracle of Luck

Over several days at Dunkirk Evacuation, this makeshift fleet would sail across the British Channel to pick up trapped soldiers. They braved bad weather and Nazi bombardment to try and rescue these poor soldiers, but in a remarkable display of fortitude, luck, and bravery, approximately 338,000 Allied soldiers were evacuated.

This extraordinary feat was due to the bravery of the rescuers, the resilience of the troops, and the strategic planning of military leaders. The evacuation, often described as a “miracle,” provided a significant morale boost to the Allied forces. With so many soldiers evacuated, it allowed the British to continue fighting and holding the line against.

But it wasn’t just Great Britain whose army escaped. Soldiers from occupied countries such as France, Poland, the Netherlands, and Belgium all joined the evacuation and escaped to the British Isles. There they would continue serving against Nazi Germany, serving as a bastion for freedom and fighting to free their homelands.

Just a few years later, these soldiers would get their chance, storming the beaches of Normandy and marking the Allied return to Europe.

The Germans portrayed the evacuation as a huge victory. On 5 June 1940, Hitler declared, “Dunkirk has fallen! 40,000 French and English troops are all that remains of the formerly great armies. Immeasurable quantities of material have been captured. The greatest battle in the history of the world has come to an end.” The German high command called it “the greatest annihilation battle of all time.”

The Dunkirk evacuation, with its desperate heroism and pivotal importance, can be seen as a modern parallel to ancient historical events like the rise of Ramses the Great. Just as Ramses rallied his forces and led them through critical battles to secure his empire, the Allies’ Dunkirk evacuation was a turning point that allowed them to regroup and continue their fight against oppression. Both events underscore the impact of strategic retreats and courageous leadership in shaping the course of history.

One of the soldiers, Harry Garrett had a few words, describing his experiences at Dunkirk evacuation.

“You knew this was the chance to get home and you kept praying, please God, let us go, get us out, get us out of this mess back to England. To see that ship that came in to pick me and my brother up, it was a most fantastic sight. We saw dog fights up in the air, hoping nothing would happen to us and we saw one or two terrible sights. Then somebody said, there’s Dover, that was when we saw the White Cliffs, the atmosphere was terrific. From hell to heaven was how the feeling was, you felt like a miracle had happened.”

– Harry Garrett, British Soldier.
dunkirk evacuation

To celebrate this Dunkirk evacuation miracle, why not create a vintage letter try our Vintage Letter platform to create some old-fashioned letters. If you are curious about it, you can try experimenting it here.

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