Defeat? Or Victory at Dunkirk

Today in History, May 26: 1940 – Operation Dynamo, or the Evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from France at Dunkirk, begins. The BEF had been sent to France after years of appeasement, when Hitler had invaded Poland in September of 1939. On May 10th Germany invaded France, which, although considered the largest army in Europe, promptly folded like an old lawn chair. The British, French and Belgian troops retreated to Dunkirk, where they faced certain defeat. The idea now was the evacuate across the English Channel, but the first day’s effort on saw the evacuation of 9,000 or so men. A call for assistance went out, and every Royal Navy vessel that could sail, every civilian yacht, fishing vessel and others that could sail for Dunkirk, did so. In the end, 9 days later, more than 338,000 soldiers had been rescued; the best and brightest of the British armed forces that would be needed in the years to come.

Churchill Becomes Prime Minister

Today in History, May 10, 1940:

Sir Winston Churchill is made Prime Minister of England, a post he had long desired, but not necessarily under these circumstances. Churchill had been a member of the British government since the turn of the century, as his father had before him.

Due to politics, he had been abandoned to the political “wilderness” in the early 30’s…still a member of the House of Commons, but not of HMG…Her Majesty’s Government.

Throughout the 30’s he repeatedly called for beefing up the military to prepare for German aggression…and was repeatedly denied…cast as a crank looking for attention. It wasn’t until the Germans actually took France that his countrymen realized that Neville Chamberlain was the crank and that “Winston” knew what he was talking about.

On this date they cast their lot with him…and he did not disappoint.