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Miracle at Dunkirk: 8 Things You Probably Don't Know About the Infamous Evacuation

Christopher Nolan’s film brought Dunkirk back to life; but there’s more to the story than survival.

  • Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

1. The Battle of Dunkirk is considered to be a major defeat for the British, and a victory for the Germans. Winston Churchill described it as a “colossal military disaster.”

2. After the last rescue boat left the Dunkirk evacuation, Germans captured at least 80,000 British and French troops.

miracle at dunkirk
  • British prisoners of war with a German tank.

    Photo Credit: Wikipedia

3. There were more than just European soldiers present at Dunkirk. Soldiers from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and other African colonies, as well as the Royal Indian Army Services Corps, were key in delaying the German attack. 

4. Soldiers at Dunkirk were able to evacuate because Hitler mysteriously ordered his troops to halt—even though it could have been a major turning point in the war. 

5. The Battle of Dunkirk marked the end to the “Phoney War”—a period during which no fighting was done for eight months after a declaration of war. 

  • Soldiers from the British Expeditionary Force fire at low flying German aircraft during the Dunkirk evacuation.

    Photo Credit: Wikipedia

6. How did the Allies get backed into Dunkirk in the first place?  

7. British troops left behind ammunition and guns on the beach­­—amounting to a serious loss of material. 

8. Directly after Operation Dynamo, the official name of the Dunkirk evacuation, German forces caused yet another British evacuation, Operation Ariel—just nine days later. 

Want to learn more about the Battle of Dunkirk and Operation Dynamo? Download Walter Lord's The Miracle of Dunkirk now.