The Nazi head of state ordered the armored forces to stop moving.
Dunkirk is a port city in France.
On May 10, 1940, five weeks after Chamberlain asserted that “the opportunity to attack France has been missed”, Nazi Germany launched a lightning attack on Western Europe.
When the German army attacked and occupied the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France, the war soon burned to France, the most powerful country in Europe at that time.
As the war situation worsened, the Allied forces were in a precarious situation.
The British Expeditionary Force and the French first group army had no other way but to retreat.
On May 24, about 400000 allied troops retreating to Dunkirk were surrounded by the German army, facing the enemy on three sides and the sea on one side.
If the German tank troops advance to the city, hundreds of thousands of soldiers will lose their lives, which will lead to a very serious consequence.
At this critical moment, German head of state Hitler suddenly ordered the armored forces to stop moving forward, which provided the allies with a once-in-a-lifetime respite.
As a result, the Allies began operation generator on May 26.
To this end, Britain mobilized more than 1000 ships and began an unprecedented retreat.
In fact, as early as May 19, Britain foresaw that failure was a foregone conclusion.
The wartime cabinet instructed the Admiralty to formulate a plan to organize the retreat of the expeditionary force, code named “operation generator”.
The operation is under the full command of lieutenant general Ramsey, commander of Dover military port.
It plans to evacuate 10000 people every day from the three ports of Calais, Toulon and Dunkirk along the coast of France, and concentrate 30 ferries and 12 minesweepers.
Ramsey also suggested strengthening air cover, but the commander of the fighter command of the British air force said that fighters could be sent to Dunkirk only on the premise of protecting the homeland.
On May 25, Lord Goth, the supreme commander of the British Expeditionary Force, sent a strongly worded telegram to the wartime cabinet: if you don’t want to destroy the British Expeditionary Force, the only thing to do now is to use Dunkirk port, which is still in our hands, to withdraw the expeditionary force from France.
The next night, the British Admiralty ordered the implementation of “operation generator”.
At this time, the situation was more dangerous than when making the plan.
Only Dunkirk could use the three French ports originally planned to be used, and various facilities such as air cover and ground transportation were very weak.
Therefore, with the existing strength, it is impossible to save 400000 troops in a short time.
Admiral Ramsay formed a capable command team of only 16 people to organize the most complex and dangerous maritime retreat in history.
The only way for the 400000 British and French allied forces to survive is Dunkirk and its 40 km coastline.
Dunkirk has been an important port in northern France since the 9th century.
In 1939, it was the third largest port in France in terms of throughput.
It has seven deep-water berths for large ships, four docks and an 8km Long Wharf.
The perfect breakwater and convex wharf can effectively resist the strong winds and waves in the English Channel.
If these port facilities can be fully utilized, 400000 British French coalition forces can safely board the ship with all their equipment in just a few days.
However, for two weeks, the area has been heavily bombed by the German army, all four docks have been destroyed, and the 8km Long Wharf has been blown into ruins.
The only thing that can also be used for berthing ships is an East dike less than 1200 meters long, which is also built by wooden piles and boards.
It is very simple, and the width can only be passed side by side by 8 people at most.
There is only a concrete column and lighthouse on the side near the sea.
There are some wooden piles around the embankment.
Ships can also be docked in case of emergency, but the current is relatively rapid, so there is a certain danger when ships dock.
During the retreat, the Allied forces were fiercely attacked by the German air force.
Although the losses were heavy, 338000 people were evacuated in the “generator operation”, which laid the foundation for the subsequent allied counterattack.
Dunkirk’s great retreat is not only a feat in the history of World War, but also a moving page in the Second World War.
So, what is the reason that the Allied forces of Britain, France and Belgium have reached such a point? The British and French allied forces declared not to be defeated and retreated from Dunkirk.
After the Nazi Germany flashed against Poland, its strategic intention was very obvious, and Britain and France knew it well.
Then why did it cause the German army to attack Western Europe all the way, and finally lead to the 400000 troops of the two allied forces trapped in Dunkirk? In fact, from the time when Germany attacked and occupied Poland in September 1939 to the time when Hitler launched the offensive on the western front the following spring, Britain and France had declared war on Germany, but both countries were in a state of declaration but no war.
This period was actually the best preparation stage for the coalition forces, but it was wasted.
Ordinary people have different explanations for this seemingly silent state.
Some people think that Britain and France are not so serious about the intention of war.
Although they have declared war for Poland, they are still waiting for the opportunity of peace negotiations.
Another popular explanation is that Britain and France have their own calculations.
There are many reports in American newspapers that the supreme command of the British and French coalition forces deliberately adopts a subtle defensive strategic plan and has prepared a trap for the Germans.
But in fact, the above two explanations are groundless.
In autumn and winter, the two countries and the Supreme Command spent a lot of time considering the offensive plans of Germany or its two wings, rather than concentrating all their efforts to make any effective defensive preparations for Hitler’s future offensive.
Relevant information shows that the leaders of these countries were planning to attack Germany with various plans – via Norway, Sweden and Finland to attack the side and rear of Germany.
Through Belgium to attack the Ruhr region.
Pass through Greece and the Balkans to attack the far eastern flank of Germany.
Attacking the Soviet Union’s large oil fields in the Caucasus to cut off the country’s oil supply to Germany.
It can be seen that the leaders of these countries still had illusions about Germany until Hitler’s artillery hit them on the head.
Due to the lack of high-level leaders’ preparation for the arrival of the war, the whole France’s work against the enemy was ineffective.
When the Polish campaign was coming to an end, Hitler had already begun to consider launching an offensive on the western front.
In his order to the German army commander, he explained his idea and explained why it was Germany to launch an attack on the western front——That is, Goering appeared at this time and assured the head of state that his air force could block the retreat from the sky to the sea to complete the encirclement task.
He undoubtedly overestimated the power of his service.
With Goering’s unshakable position in the Nazi party, the task of encircling and suppressing Dunkirk finally fell to the air force.
Later, goodrian, who had strongly opposed the order, pointed out: “I think one of the main factors that prompted Hitler to make this decision is Goering’s vanity.
” There is evidence that later, the German air force did not give full play to its power in use.
Some German air force generals said that Hitler imposed restrictions in this regard as if he had stopped ground forces.
Therefore, there are high-level doubts about whether there are political motives behind Hitler’s military reasons.
Brute, who was then the chief of operations of lundstedt headquarters, recorded Hitler’s speech during his visit to the headquarters of the group army.
He thought that this speech might peek into Hitler’s ideological context: Hitler’s spirit was very good.
He acknowledged that the process of the battle was indeed a miracle and told us that he believed that the war could be ended in six months.
Since then, he wanted to sign a reasonable contract with France, so the way to reach an agreement with Britain was unimpeded.
He spoke of his admiration for the British Empire, the need for its existence, and the British people’s contribution to world civilization.
This remark really surprised us.
He shrugged and said that although the means used in the founding of the Empire were not very bright, it was also forced by the times and had no choice.
He compared the British Empire with the Catholic Church and said that both were necessary factors for the stability of the world.
He said that he did not ask much for Britain, but that it should recognize Germany’s status on the European continent.
The return of the old German colonies was still a wish, but it was not necessary.
He even said that if Britain encountered difficulties in any other region, he was willing to provide military support.
He pointed out that colonies were just a matter of prestige, because they could not be defended in war, and few Germans were willing to live in the tropics.
His conclusion is that his purpose is to seek peace with Britain from a position that the British think is acceptable.
Brute often mentioned this conversation in his later memories: he felt that Hitler’s sudden order to stop the attack was part of his political plan to make peace easier to achieve.
If all the British Expeditionary Forces were wiped out in Dunkirk, the British would think that their glory had been seriously insulted and would try their best to shed shame.
Letting them escape may be a means by which Hitler tried to appease the British.
Hitler’s attitude towards Britain in his book “my struggle” is a complex feeling of love and hate.
Hitler’s personality is very complex, so no single explanation is completely correct.
After long-term research, historians analyzed the reasons why Hitler made this decision at that time, which consists of the following aspects: first, he wanted to preserve the strength of tanks for the next battle.
Second, he was haunted by the swamps in Dunkirk, because he had learned such a lesson in the first World War.
Third, Goering overestimated and exaggerated the power of the air force.
Fourth, there is some political reason in his heart, but it is intertwined with military clues and is not easy to be found.
The above reasons led to the desperate survival of hundreds of thousands of British and French allied troops.