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Dunkirk

Dunkirk. North-eastern French port, whence, and from neighbouring beaches, 27 May to 4 June 1940, 200,000 British troops were brought back to England. On 10 May 1940 German troops attacked the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. French and British troops moved north to join the Belgian army in resisting the main German attack which they expected to develop north of Namur; instead it came further south on the river Meuse below Sedan. By 20 May German units had reached the English Channel, splitting the allied forces. On 25 May Gort, commanding the British Expeditionary Force, deciding that Belgian retreats might expose his rear, gave up attempts to cut the German corridor to the sea, and began British retreat to the coast. On 26 May the British government ordered evacuation. French troops, hoping to maintain a bridgehead for counter-attack, played the main role in enabling the British to depart. Coincidentally, the British war cabinet discussed whether Britain could fight on alone. Churchill's view that Britain could and should continue the war against Germany, whatever happened to France, was reinforced by a promising start to the Dunkirk evacuation. Its success, in spite of German confidence that it was impossible, made more difficult any German invasion of England that summer, by increasing the size of the force the German army would need to land. The drama of the evacuation, including the part played by small civilian pleasure boats, raised British morale. But in his speech to Parliament on 4 June 1940, Churchill, while commending the bravery and resolution of the troops, put the matter in perspective: ‘We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations.’

Professor Ged Martin

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"Dunkirk." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Dunkirk (town, France)

Dunkirk (dŭn´kûrk), Fr. Dunkerque, town (1990 pop. 71,071), Nord dept., N France, on the North Sea. It is a leading French port with daily ferry service to Ramsgate and Dover, England. It is a steel center; oil refining, shipbuilding, food processing, and the manufacture of electrical equipment are also important. Among Dunkirk's chief exports are construction materials, steel products, cement, fruits and vegetables, sugar, fertilizer, and pre-assembled structures. Probably founded c.7th cent. AD and often fortified, Dunkirk played a key role in the struggles in Europe that extended over centuries; it was ruled successively by Flanders, Burgundy, Austria, France, England, and Spain. Ceded briefly in the 1650s to Oliver Cromwell, it was bought back permanently from Charles II by Louis XIV in 1662. The town withstood an Anglo-Dutch bombardment in 1694 and an English siege in 1793. During the 19th cent. improvements were made on the harbor, and Dunkirk grew in commercial importance. During World War II, more than 300,000 Allied troops who were cut off from retreat on land by the German breakthrough to the French Channel ports were evacuated (May 26–June 4, 1940) from Dunkirk. The retreat was carried out by all kinds of available British craft, some manned by civilian volunteers, and was protected by the Royal Air Force. It is considered one of the epic actions of naval history.

See studies by P. Turnball (1978), J. Harris (1988), and H. Sebag-Montefiore (2006).

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Dunkirk (city, United States)

Dunkirk, city (1990 pop. 13,989), Chautauqua co., SW N.Y., on Lake Erie; founded c.1800, inc. as a city 1880. It is a port of entry and trades extensively with other Great Lakes' ports. Dunkirk, located in the grape belt, produces wines and other grape products. The city also manufactures steel, food products, and clothing. In 1946, Dunkirk developed a program to help Dunkirk, France (for which it was named), recover from World War II. Other U.S. cities followed Dunkirk's example and established a program, called the One World Plan, to aid war-damaged European cities.

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Dunkirk

Dunkirk a port of northern France, which in the Middle Ages was a centre of privateering activity. In modern times, Dunkirk was the scene of the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force in 1940. Forced to retreat to the Channel by the German breakthrough at Sedan, 335,000 Allied troops were evacuated by warships, requisitioned civilian ships, and a host of small boats, under constant attack from the air.
Dunkirk spirit used (sometimes ironically) for the refusal to surrender or despair in a time of crisis.

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Dunkirk

Dunkirk (Dunkerque) Port at the entrance to the Straits of Dover, Nord department, nw France. It came under French rule in 1662. In World War II, more than 300,000 Allied troops were evacuated from its beaches between May 29 and June 3, 1940, when the German army broke through to the English Channel. Today, it is France's third-largest port and one of the principal iron and steel producers in w Europe. Industries: oil refining, shipbuilding. Pop. (1999) 70,850.

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"Dunkirk." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Dunkirk

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