The ‘miracle of Dunkirk’ is lauded in British history, celebrated each year with a profusion of TV documentary veteran accounts and memorial services. German soldiers, too, constantly referred to the ‘wunder’, or ‘miracle’, of reaching Dunkirk in wartime letters back home. But there the resemblance ends. For the British, it was a miracle of survival and deliverance; for the Germans, it was one of achievement. They had reached the sea in May 1940 in fewer weeks than it took years for their fathers not to succeed in 1914-18.
Historian Robert Kershaw argues that the lack of a German perspective means we have only a partial understanding of the ‘miracle of Dunkirk’. On this episode of The PastCast, he explains what new research tells us about a battle that changed the tide of the Second World War.
Dunkirk is also the subject of an article by Kershaw in the latest issue of Military History Matters magazine, which is out now in the UK and in early December in the US. It is also available to read in full on The Past website. On this episode, Robert spoke with regular PastCast presenter Calum Henderson.
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Robert Kershaw’s latest book is called Dünkirchen 1940: The German View of Dunkirk and is published by Osprey Publishing. You can buy a copy here.