“We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on

to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air,

we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall

fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills;

we shall never surrender.”

-Winston Churchill

 

A painting by artist Charles Cundall, retrieved from Getty Images.

 

On 4 June 1940, the evacuation of the Allied troops from Dunkirk ended as the German forces descended onto the beach. The evacuation, spanning the course of nine days, was one of the largest successful rescue missions in history, with over 330, 000 men rescued. The odds of such a success were very low, with the docks at Dunkirk almost completely destroyed and German air support fending off any rescue attempt from the sea.

Nonetheless, with defeat just at the doorstep, the British rallied in an awe inspiring effort with over 850 private boats along with a large naval fleet travelling under harsh and risky conditions to rescue the Allied forces and ultimately tilt the tide of battle in their favor against the Nazis.

Upon the successful completion of Operation Dynamo, Winston Churchill delivered one of the most iconic speeches in history to uplift morale amidst the averted crisis. The miracle of Dunkirk was recounted in Christopher Nolan’s 2017, critically acclaimed film, Dunkirk.