The evacuation of British forces from Dunkirk is one of the pivotal moments in the Second World War - an astonishing endeavour that snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Sent to help the Belgians and French hold back the German army, the small British Expeditionary Force was ill-equipped and under-trained. When Hitler attacked on 10 May 1940 and the French and Belgian armies collapsed in the face of Germany's swift and brutal advance, the British soldiers found themselves in mortal danger.
In Dunkirk: Retreat to Victory, Major General Julian Thompson recreates the action as the British fought hard for three desperate weeks, conducting a successful fighting withdrawal in the face of a formidable foe. He describes the individual acts of bravery and sacrifice and analyses the decisions of the commanders who made the choice to evacuate. He also takes us to Dunkirk harbour and onto the beaches, where the British army was trapped and under attack, while the Royal Navy and the 'little ships' raced against time to rescue them.
A masterly work of military history, Dunkirk: Retreat to Victory is also a tribute to the soldiers whose courage and self belief sustained them through their darkest hours.
Historian and author Major General Julian Thompson explores the circumstances that led to the beach rescues of 1940, the story of which is being told in Christopher Nolan’s epic new war film, Dunkirk.
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