Dunkirk Triumph Or Disaster Essay

If this was part of his reasoning, it was an epic misjudgment of his opponent's national psyche.

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75 years ago this week, the British army stood on the brink of disaster.

Routed by the Nazi blitzkrieg, and facing annihilation in a town in Northern France, most of the troops escaped in what some called a miracle.

Again, Hitler had psychologically misread his opponents.

In switching his attacks away from the airfields, he assumed that incinerating thousands of civilians in the cities would cause British morale to surrender.

And without US involvement, and knowing that the British could never have launched a D-Day type invasion on their own, the Germans could have kept a far smaller presence in France, which would thereby have allowed them to concentrate overwhelmingly on defeating the USSR.

Once Hitler was forced to engage in monumental struggles for existence on both his eastern and western fronts simultaneously, the end was never really in doubt.

Earlier that summer, Churchill had declared that "Hitler knows he will have to break us in this island or lose the war." But Churchill was only half right.

Right in the sense that, without breaking the British, Hitler was indeed going to lose eventually. By September 1940, facing a reconstituted British army (thanks to Dunkirk), British control over its own skies (thanks to the Battle of Britain), and mastery of the seas (thanks to the Royal Navy), Hitler realized that he could not launch what would have been the first successful invasion of England since 1066. Hitler's third strategic mistake was rooted in his deep loathing of both Communism and the "Slavic races" that formed the USSR.

On hearing the news, Churchill said he "went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful". After all, the Japanese attack indeed ensured that the US would go to war – but only against Japan.

Without Hitler's wholly gratuitous declaration, the Roosevelt Administration would never have persuaded Congress to go to war in Europe instead of focusing on the Pacific.


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