“War is the gambling table for governments, and citizens the dupes of the game.”

–Thomas Paine

The battle for Dunkirk determined the course of the Second World War. On the New Year’s Eve of 1939, the French army alongside British Expeditionary forces was stationed against the Nazi German army in the blistering cold of Ardennes forest. It was called the Phoney War because the starting period of the war represented comparatively inaction.

The French army consisted of 94 infantry division, considered to be the best in the world. The French had a very defensive strategy as the French people were against wars since the Great War of 1918 cost millions of lives. Every village in France had memorials commemorating the deceased. They strengthened the very expensive Maginot line, a vast network of fortifications, tunnels, and bunkers to protect the country. It was based on the concepts of ‘Pre Carre’ by engineer Vauban, who opted for fortified town to consolidate the boundaries of the Kingdom. In this period France was never invaded.

Although France tried to avoid war, the Germans, due to the mortification in the First World War, were resolute and determined to fight. In the summers of 1940, the aggressive German army finally initiated the assaults. Their strategy was based on speed and breaking enemy lines but it was a huge gamble for the Germans to attack the world’s most formidable army as, if the French recovered due to German sluggishness, the Germans did not have the resources to be bogged down in a long battle.