I disagree Steel.
As Waton lived through - any pro German feeling had dwindled by the late spring of 1940 and having smashed through the low countries and northern France they were not wanting to let the British escape.
Stretched German supply lines after six weeks of blitzkrieg met determined resistance at the coast from all the British could throw at them.
Remember the Royal Navy had scores of ships which were vital in the success of the operation and had guns that could fire fifteen miles inland and the RAF brought the Spitfire in to the front line in numbers and so could match the Me 109's and let the Hurricanes take on the Stukas, Heinkels and Me 110's.
England was only just over 20 miles away and so civilians were able to muster the flotilla of small ships which enabled the rescue.
I am not painting Dunkirk as anything but a defeat - but it wasn't a defeat in which the Germans could have walked in and taken 400,000 men and materiel prisoner.
I've only seen the trailers but it looks good. I knew of Dunkirk thru some old English films but never researched it.
But if you do look at the trailers, there is also some documentaries suggested on the subject and I watched a few.
What I got from it was that the German's view of warfare leaped ahead of the other countries. They didn't follow how the previous war went or their tactics. So Britain, France and Belgian presumed that Hitler would try to control areas that had been crucial in the past. Hitler on the other hand, (and the generals) instead looked to divide their forces and succeeded with the Bliztkreig. Several factors contributed to stall the victory that could have been Hitler's, if he had acted quickly. According to the documentary, Hitler had a small meltdown over the generals making plans to attack without his personal direction. The general in charge of the airforce wanted a bigger share in the fighting and convinced Hitler to let him attack instead of using the Panzers and the Army which would have made short work of them.
It is also interesting to find how propaganda was used on all sides, over Dunkirk.
For the British, it was a victory to have saved these men. One soldier that was interviewed, said that they were afraid of what the country would say once they got back. They thought they would be looked down on but instead they were called hero's. It was a victory to have snatched these men from death by navy and civilians, but it played down the fact that France was lost to the Germans and they had been routed.
For France, the British had betrayed them by retreating and leaving. To put the blame on the British meant that it wasn't their fault they fell to Hitler. Soldiers interviewed said that the government had told them they would win, so they were confident in their fighting. At first only the British soldiers were being evacuated because France did not want to appear like they were losing so they didn't put out an order to evacuate. It must have been terrible for them to watch the british leaving while they could only watch. At the end, out of all the soldiers evacuated, 1/3 of them were French soldiers. There was even German prisoners brought along which was surprising to me.
To the Germans, we are wining and we are great. No surprise there but, letting close to 300,000 soldiers get away isn't smart.
On the beach, soldiers wondered where their planes were and why they weren't they helping them. That was because most were in Britain to defend the country, but there were planes sent inland to slow down the germans. Two groups of soldiers also sacrificed themselves to hold off the germans. When they could no longer hold out after running out of ammo, they surrendered. One group was herded into a barn, grenades were thrown in and any that ran out, were shot. The other group had some that slipped away but the rest were captured.
As the 97 year old veteran said, you didn't need dialog to tell the story. I'm going to have to be in a certain mood to watch it because it is so visual.
Sorry for the long post on a movie I haven't seen yet. But I'm glad I watched the documentaries first, especially for the first hand accounts from the soldiers.
I saw it and thought it very good. The only criticism I would make is that it wasn't "busy" enough in as the beaches seemed almost empty, the Royal Navy ships too small in number (two or three when in reality there was about 40) and not nearly enough aeroplanes.
I understand this was made without CGI to add hordes of men and machines but with 300,000 on the beaches the place should have been much busier and a Luftwaffe that in truth threw all they could at it and which had over a 1000 serviceable planes to be reduced to a pair of Me109's, one Heinkel bomber and three Stukas seemed implausible as did three RAF Spitfires which seemed to take an age to take out the everlasting Heinkel.
Hardly saw any Jerries either!
Hitler extended some mercy to English soldiers at Dunkirk in an effort to have a negotiated peace with the British Empire.
Few historians now accept the view that Hitler's behaviour was influenced by the desire to let the British off lightly in [the] hope that they would then accept a compromise peace. True, in his political testament dated 26 February 1945 Hitler lamented that Churchill was "quite unable to appreciate the sporting spirit" in which he had refrained from annihilating [the] British Expeditionary Force, at Dunkirk, but this hardly squares with the contemporary record. Directive No. 13, issued by the Supreme Headquarters on 24 May called specifically for the annihilation of the French, English and Belgian forces in the pocket, while the Luftwaffe was ordered to prevent the escape of the English forces across the channel.
Weather was one of the key factors in saving the lives of the British army at Dunkirk. The Luftwaffe were able to fly a fraction of the missions they needed to due to low cloud. The BEF also destroyed the oil depots nearby creating a lot of smoke over Dunkirk.
Hitler had no notion at all of showing mercy to the British army. He trusted Goring to do the job. Goring failed.
Goering's name is actually Meier, He said " if an enemy plane reaches Berlin, my name will be "Meier" a common commoner's name. it stuck. stukas notwithstanding. He failed over Dunkirk and over germany.
A superb film, in no way homogenized to cater to the lowest common viewing denominator.
Helped me appreciate that the "freedom" to be a conscientious objector is premised on a nation having enough military power to enable you to do so.
The marvel is that the Germans did not pick off more of the troops trapped on the beach for just over one week. What a sheer nightmare to have lived through this. Little wonder that significant numbers of the men who made it back to Britain never ever got over it- it dominated their lives until the day they died. Today we would recognize that they had post-traumatic stress disorder - called back then, "shell shock". Quite apart from the terror of watching and waiting for the sniper aircraft, the noise was enough to leave so many of these men permanently on edge, embattled.
Just seen it. Brilliant film which brought tears to my eyes. It might not be as close to the real events as possible but it tells the story in a really evocative manner.
The only thing which bugged me was the internal shots in the rail carriage. Those open plan carriages simply were not around in the 40s AFAIK. Even into the late 80s compartmentalised carriages were the norm.
I said that!