Why was Dunkirk an success?
- 338,000 troops were evacuated when Churchill only believed 50,000 would come back.
- Reduced the need for peace talks between Germany and Britain. Churchill belived in fighting for a few more months in which Atless and Greenwood agreed. However, Halfix believed that the war was lost and that a peace settlement with Mussoilini acting as a mediator would be possible. Chamberlian agreed to the idea of peace, but not Mussoilini as a mediator as Chamberlain believed that Mussolini wouldn't offer 'decent terms'. Halifax was outmaneouvered but during the summer of 1940, via the British embassy in Stockholm Halifax tried to find out what peace terms the Germans would agree to. Evetually, Halifax was removed from the Cabinet and sent to the US to act as a ambassador.
- 140,000 of the troops resecued were French which contributed to the Free French movement.
- Churchill used the rescue as propoganda to boost British morale with the 'Dunkirk Spirit'.
- Part of the success has to be down to the decision of von Runstedt who didn't pursue the Allies on Dunkirk because half of the tanks were damaged, the others required maintenance and were unsuitable for for the beaches of Dunkirk. In addition,there priority was the defeat of France with Goering boosting that the Luftwaffe could single handidly finish France off. This was thwarted by bad weather-rain and fog- and the RAF.
- It convinced the US that Britain were prepared to fight on.
1 of 4
Why was Dunkirk a failure?
- The equipment that the British lost at Dunkirk couldn't easily be replaced as it was dependent on whether America would become involved in the war effort and the threat of the U-Boats in transporting resources. Britain was now more dependent on the US.
- Of the 756 ships, two-thirds were civillains which shows how desperate Britain was.
- The Italians declared war knowing that Allied defeat was imminent which weakened Britians international presitge.
- Germans are now able to pursue air attacks on Briain which could have damaged morale.
- Not in British interests.
- Placed more stressed on the RAF and the Royal Navy. The Royal Navy had already lost 6 destroyers, 8 transport ships and 200 vessels.
- Germany stronger now than in 1939 as they gained defences such as the Magniot Line and access to the Channel.
- Had 68,000 British casualities and 290,000 for the French compared to the 27,074 casualites for the Germans and 11,034 injured.
- Spirit of Dunkirk creates a false sense of security e,g the threat of the Triparte Pact.
- Left France and Belgium to their fate so Britain now stands alone against a Nazi-dominated Europe.
- no prospect of bombing or blockading Germany into surrender.
- Operation Sea-Lion is now a real possible threat.
2 of 4
American Support between 1939 and onwards
- Roosevelt and Churchill started a private correspondence with each other in early 1939 which became a vital communication between Anglo-American relations.
- In late 1939, Roosevelt persuaded Congress to amend the Neutrality Act to allow the Allies to purchase arms on a 'cash-and-carry' basis.
- After the Fall of France, Roosevelt became more sympathetic towards the British cause so allowed Britain to have 50 of their WWI destroyers for a 99 year lease of air and naval bases in the West Indies and Newfoundland.
- The British also brought 500,000 rifles, 85,00 machine guns, 900 field guns, 25,000 automatic rifle which had been in the US army stores and collected them from US ports to replace the equipment which was lost in France.
- In the later part of 1940, more than half of the British imports were from Canada or the US. Canada provided interest free loan or gifts, but the US were different. Britain had to pay for all of the US equipment provided.
- At the end of 1940, British commited amounted to $10 billion with an adverse of payments of $2 billion. Exports continued to fall that by the end of 1940, it was half of pre-war level.
- Industrial production rosed to 96% during the war. Federal budget in 1939 was $9 billions which rose to $116 billion by 1945. Supplied 20% of Britain's military equipment. American industry provided 2/3 of the Allied military equipment during the war: 297,000 aircraft, 193,000 artillery pieces, 36,000 tanks and 2,000,000 army tanks.
3 of 4
- In September 1940 Germany, Italy and Japan drew up the Tripartite pact.
- It was a vagued expression of friendship rather than a fully pledged alliance.
- Japan had not join the war against Britain.
- Mussolini was Hitler's only chief ally between 1940-1941
4 of 4
Similar History resources: