4) WORLD WAR 2 - COUNTDOWN TO VICTORY Britain under Attack; July – September 1940

4) WORLD WAR 2 - COUNTDOWN TO VICTORY Britain under Attack; July – September 1940

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[Music] [Music] so [Music] the spring and early summer of 1940 proved to be a very eventful few months in the history of the second world war which until this point had seen acts of nazi aggression followed by periods of watching and waiting on the part of great britain and the allies but by april and into may adolf hitler's
01:19
troops were storming through scandinavia and across europe employing ever more aggressive new techniques to invade norway and denmark to the north and the low countries and france further south [Music] it was at this point in war six months after the nazis had invaded poland that allied soldiers were finally sent fully into battle and as the struggle became progressively more brutal
01:50
there could be no clearer indication that the phony war had come to an end and europe was now in the full throes of bloody conflict nevertheless for the allies the horrors and heartbreaks of this period would also be marked by moments of triumphant glory thousands of allied troops were rescued from the beaches of dunkirk in northern france while nazi troops edged ever closer as the german planes of goering's luftwaffe screamed overhead
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it was one of the most inspiring moments of the entire while hitler's army stormed across the continent this extraordinary event gave the people of the occupied nations a glimmer of hope and for the british there could have been no better boost to morale [Music] early in may winston churchill took on the mantle of leadership giving adolf hitler and his third reich
03:00
an enemy to be reckoned with that would fight doggedly until the bitter end every trace of hitler's footsteps every stain of his infected and corroding fingers will be sponged and purged and if need be blasted from the service of the earth this chapter in the countdown to victory will explore the dramatic events that led to the nazi invasion of france as europe was thrown into increasing
03:32
turmoil with breathtaking footage of the dunkirk evacuation you'll see for yourself one of the major turning points of the second world war when for the first time since september 1939 adolf hitler's plans were thwarted the importance of this event cannot be underestimated for it was during this period that the spirit of dunkirk was forged from the fires of despair and it was this spirit that would ultimately save britain from the icy grasp of the third reich
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and change the course of history the two years leading up to 1940 had seen many dramatic changes on the european continent as the leader of nazi germany adolf hitler continued to promote increasingly aggressive policies in his aim to expand the borders of his country and create a thriving third reich he had annexed austria and invaded sudetenland in czechoslovakia in 1938 although the british prime
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minister at this time neville chamberlain had tried to promote peace putting pressure on prague to make concessions to hitler after flying for talks with the fuhrer in germany it soon became all too clear that the nazi leader could not be trusted the munich agreement was signed on september the 30th 1938 between hitler the french premier de ladier chamberlain and mussolini as hitler gave his word that his invasion plans would now be
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halted if he could keep the land he now occupied chamberlain believed that this would end the threat of war but to the despair of allied politicians hitler reneged on the deal within six months and in march 1939 the nazis stormed into czechoslovakia the two decades of peace that the world had enjoyed since the end of the first world war in november 1918 were rapidly coming to
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a close [Music] on september the 1st 1939 germany invaded poland and it was clear that chamberlain's policy of appeasement had failed britain and her allies had no other option but to declare war on hitler just two days later wild shelters were built rationing
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introduced and children evacuated the british public braced themselves for the worst but despite the hasty preparations for conflict the first six months of war would be relatively uneventful on the home front further afield however the balance of power was rocking dangerously the soviet army led by joseph stalin agreed a pact with the nazi forces were greedily claiming a share of poland
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with terrible consequences for the polish people as towns and cities were attacked resulting in thousands of civilian as well as military casualties by november 1939 the soviets struck out again this time targeting finland and although the finns fought bravely and held off the red army for months by 1940 they were forced into surrendering precious land and resources to stalin but as finland signed a peace treaty
07:25
with the soviet union chamberlain and the british government had still to make a move to halt the nazi advance despite winston churchill as first lord of the admiralty urging immediate action his main concern was norway and churchill was very soon proved right [Music] in april 1940 all eyes were fixed upon scandinavia which was of great strategic value for both the allied forces
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and hitler's axes of evil the kingdom of norway was especially important to the nazi war machine as 90 of swedish iron ore was being shipped to germany through the norwegian port of narvik the western ports of the nation were also of great value to the nazis offering the potential for creating strategic bases to launch u-boat attacks from the north sea and the atlantic this point had been picked up on by the head of the german navy
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grand admiral rider recognizing the importance of norway early on he'd argued for the country's occupation just after the outbreak of the war in the autumn of 1939 and by spring germany had made this an objective [Music] meanwhile back in britain chamberlain and the government were still trying to avert war at any cost churchill was becoming even more frustrated at there being no attempt made to prevent norway from falling into nazi
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hands every suggestion churchill made to support britain's nordic neighbours was outvoted by chamberlain's cabinet and although the prime minister's motives were understandable hitler was becoming even more dangerous the scars left by the first world war still lingered in the memories of those governing the united kingdom the idea of pushing the nation into another bloody landmark
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was an unthinkable concept [Music] neville chamberlain had been elected prime minister in 1937 in preference to churchill and his outspoken concerns about adolf hitler's rise to power in germany and chamberlain was committed to peace following a general policy of appeasement with the fuhrer despite germany's increasing belligerence [Music] it was not because he sympathized with germany
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far from it in a letter to his sister he wrote on the whole i hate germans but he was very concerned that the nation simply was not ready for war [Music] alone britain lacked the industrial infrastructure and financial strength to win an arms race with germany and as america britain's traditional ally presided over by franklin d roosevelt remained reluctant to become involved in a european war there were simply
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insufficient funds to redress the balance but while the presence of u-boats in the atlantic became ever more menacing a sense of foreboding had begun to grow and it was clear that the british government would not be able to watch and wait for much longer the time for action had come [Music] as pressure mounted chamberlain and the foreign secretary vikand halifax approved a plan to occupy the port of narvik
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and control the rail link to sweden but norway and sweden were unwilling to collaborate in a scheme that might lead to war with both germany and the soviet union as an alternative churchill suggested operation wilfred a plan to mine norwegian waters and force german shipping out into the open sea where the royal navy lay in wait allied troops could then be sent in to occupy norway but the government repeatedly rejected
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the idea churchill's hands were tied and he could do no more than stand by and watch in horror as events unfolded [Music] meanwhile hitler had spent his time during the phony war very wisely drawing up plans for dominating europe and while the allies hesitated his nazi forces stood poised to attack by april warships air force and armies were ready
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to invade not only norway but also its neighbour denmark which would prove a valuable staging post for operations chamberlain's caution had given the nazi leader the breathing space he needed and by the time operation wilfred was finally approved and the british began mining norwegian waters on april the 8th it was already too late with complete disregard for the non-aggression pact
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signed with neutral denmark only one year earlier at 4 15 in the morning on april 9 1940 german forces marched in within three hours after threats to bomb copenhagen the danish government surrendered and the occupation was so sudden that most danes had no idea that their country had even been invaded and all the while hitler's general falcon horst with the 21st army corps
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was already on route to invade norway the initial german invasion force transported by several groups of ships planned to attack six norwegian ports simultaneously including oslo narvik and trondheim as norwegian coastal defense ships were torpedoed german airborne forces parachuted into the country's major cities carrying out the first paratrooper attack in history within 24 hours most of the strategically important norwegian towns
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and cities were in nazi hands better late than never britain's royal navy arrived to battle back against german naval forces two days after the start of the invasion but their efforts were futile it was too late [Applause] as hitler became even more aggressive throughout europe with the loss of norway inevitable allied troops were withdrawn to fight elsewhere and the norwegians were left to fight on
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as best as they could alone back in london emotions were running high after the failure of the british expedition to norway especially as winston churchill had seen this disaster coming it was clear that a passive strategy up to this point had been too cautious and it was time for chamberlain to go debate in the house of commons one of chamberlain's closest friends turned to history and the words of oliver cromwell to express the view of the british
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people you have sat too long here for any good you've been doing depart i say and let us have done with you in the name of god go with honor and dignity chamberlain accepted his fate and resigned but now an alternative leader had to be found one who wouldn't be afraid to lead the nation through another world war the conservative politician anthony eden was one possible candidate
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but at just 43 years old he was considered too young another option was viscount halifax a senior conservative politician the foreign secretary and chamberlain's choice as a replacement but the prospect of running a wartime coalition didn't appeal to the world weary halifax by a process of elimination the only possible candidate for prime minister was winston churchill the first lord of the admiralty whose fearsome
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reputation and correct analysis of what hitler would do next improved british morale dramatically winston churchill took up office on may the 10th 1940 and while a new coalition government was swiftly formed adolf hitler would have been all too aware that churchill was going to be a much tougher adversary than chamberlain has been the phony war had given hitler the upper hand without a doubt and churchill quickly set to work in
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order to redress the balance however nobody not even churchill could have predicted just how quickly the new prime minister would have to stand up and be counted but for the time being hitler was working towards the invasion of france a nation that he'd come to hate after his experiences as a soldier during the first world war germany had suffered a humiliating defeat and been forced to surrender to the french army in 1918
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and after the treaty of versailles the germans had lost valuable land and resources and most importantly their dignity adolf hitler a mere foot soldier in his twenties had been driven by a desire to remedy the injustices to his adopted fatherland and from this moment onwards was determined to see the french bow to the power of the third reich the conquest of france would be the crowning glory in the nazi domination of europe
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[Music] the most brilliant german military mines were now put together to come up with the ultimate attack plan for achieving the occupation of the low countries and northern france [Music] described as fall gelb field marshal eric von manstein devised a highly elaborate operation which would be later described by winston churchill as the sickle cut technique using three armies a b and c
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the nazis would push into the low countries and france using great military ingenuity to break the allied line into trapping enemy troops on the french beaches at dunkirk army group b was to be led by field marshal fader von bark their orders were to feign an attack through neutral belgium and the netherlands to draw as many allied troops as possible northwoods group c had the task of attacking france
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along the defensive maginot line again keeping allied troops fully engaged meanwhile army group a would instigate the main attack led by field marshal gerd von munstert clearing the path to advance through the our dead forest crossing the river muse then using a blitzkrieg sweep to push across france towards the english channel trapping allied forces in belgium and across the flanders fields
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where so many had died during world war one it was an ingenious yet risky plan but hitler was so confident of its success that the very evening before the attack he told his staff gentlemen you are about to witness the most famous victory in history it was destined to be the very same day that winston churchill became prime minister may the 10th that saw the nazis start their advance
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towards france at just after four in the morning when the first attacks took place the mutual countries of holland and belgium found themselves in desperate need of aid from the allies the phony war was well and truly at an end the dutch hoped should any invasion take place the nazis would leave the main cities which were protected by flooded low-level areas and fortifications intact and proceed through the southern parts of the country
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and on into belgium however herman goering the commander of germany's air force the luftwaffe was determined to capture the western dutch airfields fearing that the british might take control of them creating a base from where the raf could attack the fatherland consequently goring demanded a complete conquest of the netherlands though poorly armed with artillery relying on howitzers and machine guns that dated back to the first world war
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the dutch fought bravely and efficiently against the modern tanks and weapons of the german army but hitler was adamant that all resistance had to be crushed and as his panzer tank divisions gathered outside rotterdam holland's second largest city the nation was given an ultimatum if they surrendered their cities would be spared if not they would be bombed while negotiations commenced what followed would go down in history
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as one of the great atrocities of the second world war as waves of goring's bombers darkened the skies above waterloo the onslaught of bombs that ensued tore out the heart of the city making 80 000 people homeless and leaving a flat and desolate landscape in their wake almost a thousand people were killed and with other major cities threatened with the same fate the netherlands had no choice but to surrender on may the 14th the battle for holland
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was over as the nazis took the strategically vital airfields the dutch queen wilhemina fled to london she would continue to rally support for the fight against hitler while hitler had vanquished the netherlands within four days the battle for belgium would prove to be an altogether tougher affair the country was protected by fort aben email a huge fortress that was virtually impregnable and considered to be one of the most
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modern in the world at that time the germans yet again resorted to more unconventional strategies to invade the country and used gliders to land and unload assault teams within hours nazi paratroopers and panzer tank divisions were occupying belgium and their french neighbours along with the british were convinced that this was the main attack just as the nazi commanders had hoped and responded by throwing as many allied troops as possible
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into the path of the germans french and british forces began to move forward to make contact with the belgian army and create an unbroken line of resistance from the english channel to the borders of switzerland but little did they know that further south the bulk of the nazi forces in group a was steadily advancing through the ardennes forest unchallenged about to storm through the allied lines [Music] back in london winston churchill and the
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government watched events unfold with ever increasing concern the british expeditionary force more commonly known as the bef had been in france since germany's invasion of poland in 1939 and after waiting patiently throughout the phony war battling the bitter cold winter as they built trenches in preparation these soldiers were now called upon to provide vital reinforcements
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for the belgian and french troops as the bef poured into belgium in their thousands they were given a tremendous welcome but as holland fell and the nazi troops broke through all lines of defense churchill could see the difficult fight that lay ahead for the soldiers of the bef the situation however was greater than the british prime minister could possibly have imagined the nazi army pushing through the
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ardennes comprised of divisions led by some of the greatest generals in germany most notably erwin rommel and heinz guderian the latter was one of the first to develop and advocate the groundbreaking principles of blitzkrieg which translates into english as lightning strike this technique was a new revolutionary form of warfare using mechanized forces to pierce a small section of the enemy front before
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proceeding onwards without regard for their flanks guderian believed that the tank was the decisive weapon of war stated that in his opinion if the tanks succeed then victory follows [Music] guderian's strategy during the invasion of france would prove a great success but despite the impressive nazi maneuvers the allies still had many valuable opportunities to thwart the germans however they
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failed to make the most of the chances that they had leaving hitler in the ascendancy as his troops seemed even more invincible as the days went on while the germans were making their way across the wild territory of the ardennes poor roads did somewhat hinder the progress of the vast amarda of nazi vehicles and troops struggling to make headway on their way to the river muse [Music]
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the muse was one of the biggest defensive lines protecting the french from invasion forming a natural barrier between france belgium and holland flowing for over 500 miles it was vital that this line be defended no matter what the cost as the progress of nazi troops began to slow the french commander maurice gamblin now fully aware of army group a's advance had the perfect opportunity to attack by air but he elected not to
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do so gambling was reluctant to risk using strategic bombers so close to the german border and instead ordered reinforcement divisions to the muse sector by the comparatively slow means of night trains the french were convinced that the nazis wouldn't even attempt to breach the muse line to the west of the ardennes until they had a large infantry and artillery support available there was little sense of urgency
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amongst the french commanders they believed they had at least until the 20th of may to get reinforcements in place underestimating the efficiency of hitler's offensive was a grave mistake just three days after invading belgium on may the 13th german forces were already at the muse line as panzer tanks and troops attacked forging ahead on land guring's luftwaffe roared overhead bombarding allied troops
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flying almost four thousand salties barman lasted from eight o'clock in the morning until dusk and was the heaviest the world had ever seen morale on the allied side quickly plunged troops began to abandon their posts while panzer tanks attacked relentlessly pushing through the first lines of defense and towards the river before long the nazis had made considerable progress pushing some five miles into the french
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defenses by seven o'clock that evening as false rumors abounded from fleeing soldiers the german tanks were already behind them the remaining troops left defending the line also fled it was a fatal mistake and one that would shatter all hope of saving france left unprotected the next morning german troops and anti-tank units swept over the river muse
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[Music] although allied forces desperately tried to destroy the bridges with air attacks to prevent the nazi advance german fighter planes battled ferociously and along with anti-aircraft guns shot down around 90 allied bombers in just one day the luftwaffe described the event as the day of the fighters with the bridges still intact the panzer divisions
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under guderian now ranged freely around the landing areas until all real resistance was neutralized it was at this point that the blitzkrieg tactics of the highly trained nazi military machine proved most effective despite instructions to consolidate a small bridgehead goodarian and wrong disregarded audience began to strike out in all directions taking french troops all around the country by surprise
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as rommel's pouncers pushed deeper and deeper into france it became virtually impossible for even german high command to determine their whereabouts he became known as the ghost division this was blitzkrieg at its most reckless infuriating many of the nazi commanders but the swift progress was undeniable by the 17th of may rommel had taken 10 000 allied prisoners and had lost only 36 of his own men
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in paris panic began to set in as the government realized that allied defenses were all too swiftly crumbling to dust archives were burnt the french prime minister paul reino telephoned churchill on may the 15th declaring we have been defeated we are beaten we have lost the battle churchill rushed to paris the next day and when he asked reina where the strategic reserve was that had saved paris in the first world war
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the devastated french premier confessed there is none it appeared france was doomed while the government of france was thrown into disarray a future french leader was beginning to make a name for himself general charles de gaulle hastily assembled forces for a counter-attack and it was one of the few positive successes for the beleaguered nation but it was not enough to push back the german advance nevertheless despite de gaulle's
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inability to save the country the brave attempt would see him promoted to the position of brigadier general and he would become a figurehead for the free french thereafter even when the third reich had much of the nation within their grasp general de gaulle would continue to inspire the french resistance to fight for freedom from the london base he occupied after fleeing france while the germans pushed ever onward by may the 17th rommel and guderian's forces
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actually found themselves in a dangerous position the tanks were low on fuel the troops were exhausted and after the quick dash into france without waiting for support their flanks were now unprotected the nazi advance slowed down completely giving the french a golden opportunity to attack but once again they failed to take action [Applause] the panzer corpse were given the luxury of time to repair tanks
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eat sleep and even shave and take a bath [Music] the blame for missing so many opportunities firmly rested with the french government and its military commanders since the treaty of versailles in 1919 following the end of the first world war the french government hoped that germany's war-mongering days were over as the depression of 1929 hit hard france had put off rearmament while
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germany flaunted the treaty of versailles and secretly began to build up their armies and invest in new weaponry now as the nazis swarmed into france with their highly equipped forces the french lacked just about everything from modern tanks to light weapons and even clothing badly prepared and poorly lit many of the fighting men were now convinced the defeat was imminent meanwhile once refreshed the panzers
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began to push towards the coast and the advance became more intense than ever using integrated ground and air assaults the sheer strength of the nazi charge was terrifying they destroyed everything in their path as thousands of refugees began to flee the country rather than live under german occupation but for the allies worse was still to come in the north they were now being encircled with no possible escape route
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the situation was disastrous instead of a franco-anglo-belgian line containing the nazi attack there was now a german line stretching from germany to the sea quite literally cutting the allied forces in two on may the 20th the french prime minister paul raynaud sacked gamelin for his failure to contain the german offensive and replaced him with maxine waygand a major general renowned for his role in the first world war but not even
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wagande would be able to muster the forces necessary to stop the advance seeing the situation was becoming increasingly desperate lord gaut the chief commanding officer of the bef ordered a retreat towards the channel on the 23rd of may hoping that the troops could be evacuated while the nazis blockaded calais and muloin dunkirk lying just six miles from the belgian border was now one of the last major ports
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available to the allies british belgium and french forces headed for its beaches but as guderian's troops advanced the allies were being encircled and before long three hundred thousand men were trapped with nothing but sea ahead of them and the enemy to the rear [Music] a disaster on an epic scale is now brewing as churchill and the british navy were faced with the stark reality
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that there simply weren't enough vessels to rescue the number of soldiers steadily increasing on the beaches of dunkirk the most they could hope to save would be around 45 000 men leaving 255 000 active allied service personnel to the mercy of the germans there was however just the smallest glimmer of hope on may the 14th a message had been broadcast to the british nation requesting that all owners of seaworthy
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craft that hadn't already been requisitioned for the war effort be registered with the admiralty a call for assistance reached owners of yachts pleasure cruisers and even fishing boats and the response was phenomenal soon a huge civilian fleet was on standby some manned by trained volunteers others captained by their owners and all ready to cross the channel to sail into the battle of france and save as many allied soldiers as
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possible they would become known as the little ships of dunkirk and would play a crucial part in one of the most daring rescue missions in history it was now up to vice admiral bertram ramsey who was in charge of the defense of the dover area of british operations and the protection of cross-channel military traffic to finalize the plans which were codenamed
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operation dynamo this was an immense challenge and staff worked around the clock in underground tunnels deep beneath dover castle to finalize every last detail by may the 26 1940 the operation was ready to be launched and the vast fleet set off across the channel towards france few knew what to expect with battles raging so close to the french coast and the
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nazi troops swiftly progressing but when they finally arrived within sight of dunkirk the crews manning the ships found to their amazement that guderian's forces were nowhere to be seen as far as the coastline stretched thousands upon thousands of allied troops as yet untouched by the nazi onslaught were sitting patiently waiting for help to come
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[Music] considering the incredible success of the germans blitzkrieg sweep across france it seemed incredible that the tanks of the panzer divisions had not reached to this part of the coastline but two days earlier a pivotal moment in the battle for france had taken place quite extraordinarily it was adolf hitler himself who had intervened in the fate of the thousands of allied soldiers
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and his actions undoubtedly resulted in so many of them escaping while the panzer stood poised to attack the encircled troops he'd given the order for the tanks to hold their position the reasons behind this seemingly strange decision remained to this day something of a mystery but we do know that goring had told the fuhrer that his luftwaffe alone could prevent an evacuation while unstead had warned hitler that
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further panzer activity would result in an extended repair period jeopardizing the second stage in the battle of france and the plans to seize paris there is also another theory however namely that hitler did not want a war with britain and still hoped to be able to negotiate a settlement with churchill which after the conquest of france would allow him to focus his energy on russia and the eastern front
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in the meantime while the nazis waited the british vessel sailed closer to the french coast and the mass evacuation began troops waded deep out into the water to meet to the rescue teams and clamber on board to safety thousands upon thousands of men now lined to the shores and waited patiently for the ships to take them away orderly queues formed for the boats and even though many knew that they would perhaps never make it off the beaches
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they still waited their turn [Music] the little ships now played their vital part as one of the main problems ramsay had to overcome was the fact that the shallow waters around dunkirk meant that many of the larger naval vessels couldn't be used to get men from the beaches to the ships waiting offshore while the evacuation continued and more men clambered aboard the boats the nazi commander soon became aware of what was happening
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as hitler realized his terrible mistake in calling off the attack he ordered a full-scale air and land assault on may the 27th to wipe out the troops and sink the evacuation ships that had come to safe [Music] the raf swiftly flew in to protect the boats and troops on the ground and the air became a mass of swooping planes as they fought long and hard to counter the relentless attack staged
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by the luftwaffe [Music] while enemy bombs kept falling from the skulls the role of the british fighter pilots would prove crucial to the success of the mission meanwhile on the ground the allies were all too aware that some of their number would have to form a stronghold to keep hitler's men away from the beaches to protect the ships for as long as possible hundreds would sacrifice their lives so that others could live
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willingly obeying the order to fight till the last bullet to make matters worse news reached the allies that on may the 28th belgium had surrendered to the germans leaving the bef dangerously exposed as troops battled on with dunkirk under such heavy attack the evacuation was becoming increasingly difficult and even with the vast fleet of little ships
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there were simply not enough boats in the first 48 hours of the evacuation only 8 000 soldiers had been saved from the french beaches alive [Music] soon dunkirk was swathed in clouds of black smoke billowing up from the heavy shelling but despite the nazis best efforts to take control the allied soldiers protecting the beaches dug in even deeper keeping the enemy at bay
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as news of what was happening reached britain more boats joined the rescue mission to try and help and from yachts and lifeboats to holiday steamers more and more seaworthy craft began to sail towards the battle torn coastline once the rescued troops had been safely set down on british soil from the first wave of little ships many of the boats simply turned around and went back to france again to rescue more men while the german guns continued to fire
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on may the 29th nineteen thousand soldiers were rescued from the beaches morale was now steadily rising amongst the allied troops in france and just one day later as the men coming back to britain were counted in the overall number of troops rescued had risen to 47 000. while the mood amongst the british and french improved the weather also began to play a part in aiding the evacuation
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on the fourth day of operation dynamo a thick fog fell and shrouded the channel it was now virtually impossible for the luftwaffe to continue the attack and their planes lay grounded while the allies struggled towards the ships waiting for them as the evacuation drew to a close on the 4th of june and the last boat left the shores of france more than 330 000 men had been saved and despite the odds stacked so heavily
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against them only 2 000 allied servicemen had been lost on the beaches throughout the entire operation it was an incredible achievement for the allies and even the nazi commanders were impressed irwin rommel praised the staunch resistance of the allied forces despite the fact they were under-equipped and had little ammunition for much of the fighting for nazi germany however the failure to
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swiftly capture dunkirk and destroy the british expeditionary force was one of the biggest mistakes they would make in the western theater of war they may have won the battle for dunkirk but the mistakes they'd made would in the months and years ahead cost them deer back across the channel as allied troops reached the south coast of england the next phase of the operation was set in motion as soldiers had to be relocated as
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quickly as possible train stations quickly filled up with the soldiers hoping to get home and see their loved ones before being assigned to new duties hundreds of volunteers worked around the clock to ensure that the soldiers were comfortable they were welcomed home as returning heroes as the nation showed its gratitude to the men who had survived to fight another day while britain rejoiced at the return of their battle-weary soldiers churchill hailed the outcome of the
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dunkirk evacuation as a miracle of deliverance but he also had a warning for the public we must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory wars are not won by evacuations valuable artillery and weapons had been lost on the beaches and roads of france that would result in an even greater dependency on the united states throughout the course of the war also
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many of the allied soldiers that had been left behind were now prisoners of war and back in france the mood was understandably bleak after the evacuation at dunkirk general weigand was in a difficult position france had lost their strongest and most modern forces in the north as well as their best armoured formations and heavy weaponry manpower was depleted and with the front to defend from the channel to the sedan
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without as they perceived it any allied support many french leaders openly lost heart to them dunkirk had been an abandonment adolf hitler could now begin the second phase in the battle for france forward which translates as case read in english just one day after the last ship had left dunkirk on june the 5th 1914 the german offensive was renewed and the nazi forces
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began to march towards paris without the support of the british air force the french air resistance soon collapsed while germany enjoyed total air supremacy across the country the french government fled declaring paris an open city on the 14th of june the wehrmacht marched into the beautiful french capital and as a deep dread filled the hearts of the parisians who witnessed the loss of their city it was
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a triumphant moment for nazi germany this was the jewel in the european crown for adolf hitler and one of the defining moments he'd been waiting for [Music] when paul raynaud the prime minister resigned his position he was succeeded by marshal philip pettan who immediately requested
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an armistice with germany still raging at the way germany had been treated after the first world war hitler had the original train carriage where the 1918 armistice had been signed removed from the french museum and placed in the exact same spot in the company forest where marshall fox had accepted germany's surrender on june the 22nd hitler sat in the chair where the french commander fox had completed germany's humiliation
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over two decades earlier but after only listening to the preamble disdainfully he left the rest to his chief of staff general keitel france was split into an occupied zone in the north and west and a nominally independent state in the south at vici the vichy government led by patan accepted france was a defeated nation and attempted to gain favor with the
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germans through passivity meanwhile as hitler greedily seized french territory a new player had joined the theater of war benito mussolini the leader of fascist italy declared war on france and britain on june the 10th and would soon put pressure on british troops based in northern africa with countries to the east and south swamped by the nazi enemy and stalin's red army and mussolini
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allied with hitler britain was now in a grave situation the island nation stood alone however dunkirk had instilled hope into the people of britain and after winston churchill's miracle of deliverance every man woman and child believed that anything was possible in fact as it became evident that britain would be germany's next target they even began to believe that adolf hitler and his axes of evil could be defeated
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if they all pulled together winston churchill had instantly made his mark as a great leader and whether they knew it or not the triumphant nazis now had a real fight on their hands as churchill declared the battle of france is over the battle of britain is about to begin
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