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Movie comment off-brand for this TL, so you may wish to skip the next 10-12 numbered tweets on Dunkirk …
122 replies and sub-replies as of Jul 29 2017

… no spoiler alerts, I assume you know how WW2 ended.
1) The Germany army took something like 1.8 million French prisoners in Battle of France, ~10% military age male population of France
2) The Nazi regime reduced those prisoners to slave laborers -and also held them as hostages for French compliance w occupation
3) When assessing French behavior in 1940-44, it’s important to keep this hostage situation in mind.
4) There was hardly a family in France that was not personally dependent on German goodwill for fate of a loved one.
5) Occasional prisoner releases intensified the German manipulation of French public opinion.
6) The British Empire wd have remained objectively more than capable of continuing the war had the army at Dunkirk been captured
7) But politically, how could the United Kingdom have carried on the struggle with 300,000 of its sons in German hands?
8) To famous question, “Why didn’t Hitler move faster to slaughter the British troops on the beach,” my answer is: he wanted a surrender
9) British prisoners more useful to Hitler politically than British dead and wounded.
10) This was the miracle of Dunkirk: it didn’t only save lives, but it snatched from Hitler his only war-ending, war-winning weapon: UK POWs
11) And why, contra Churchill’s justly famous remark, *this* war *was* won by an evacuation. - 30 -
and the Red Army
Fair enough. The war in the East dwarfed the Western front. Western pressure and destruction of Luftwaffe certainly helped.
If UK was done and dusted in by 1941 and Germany was fighting a 1-front war, Soviets would have been easy pickings.
Also, USSR was already being helped by the USA at this time, without that, same scenario.
aye, 'tis why I said "and"
Interesting but do we really know Britain would have been paralyzed by 200k prisoners or rather even more determined to fight to the end ?
Excellent thread and tells the true story of the French in WW2, so often misrepresented
Ppl just don't read history from multiple vantage points. Most French were absolutely heroic; War in EU would not have been won w/o them.
very interesting perspective
Classic Churchill soaring retorhic to mask his inaction, Russia won WWII, not the US and especially not the UK.
USA entry won the war. USSR role should not be downplayed but without American and Canadian munitions, history could have been different.
Thanks for the laugh. 👍
Dunkirk is what enabled the speech 'we will never surrender' and Battle of Britain. Hitler Entente wasnt possible w/ mass murder
Also, the French didn't have the luxury of evacuating to another France.
The British think Dunkirk & WW-II is all about Britain. And this movie and their reaction to Saving Private Ryan are prime examples.
Sweeping generalisation there. I don't remember you asking me about WW2. And my answer would certainly not be "well, it was all about us!"
France could have continued the fight from North Africa, given the political will. Not the same as having a home island, of course.
Not just a home island. a home island and practically an endless supply of arms and personnel from a world-wide empire.
Got to disagree. Evacuation failure would have meant appeasers and defeatists to the fore, conditional surrender more likely. Then next?...
...the complete annihilation of European Jews and an even more destructive war with USSR. German victory not guaranteed but...
...2 totalitarian regimes at war, 1 totalitarian victor; Europe lost to democracy for generations, enslaved by either Fascists or Marxists
Agree!!! It kept UK in the fight. Allowed for Africa Campaign
Hitler's tanks were held up.Was talked into using air force.Didn't work.Britain could only evacuate own.Hitler needed slave labor
And I will add this...just like the French were held were many Germans in their own country. My mother survived WWII in Berlin.
I guess he learned something from Gallipoli disaster.
Had a great uncle evacuated from Dunkirk, returned to France on D-Day and survived both. Bravest man I knew. As were they all.
wait what? How does Hitler win the war with UK POWs? Does Russia not exist in this history lesson?
With UK POW's Hitler has bargaining power and increases chances of invading Britain. Russia exists but wouldn't have had same impact
No. The impact of the Russian advance from the East, wouldn't have been as effective had Germany taken the British South Coast.
The Russians also didn't enter East Germany for a number of years after Dunkirk. Nazis were weakened
That's a really interesting perspective on the German delay at Dunkirk and the potential consequences of 300000 Empire POWs.
I didn't realize that angle. Thanks much for this thread.
Ok I'm going to see the movie this weekend; but you'd better not be wrong; that's two hours out of an old man's life
Hope to see Dunkirk soon
Besides, a large slaughter might lead to more determination and thirst for vengeance, while an army on the run is a moral boost for him.
always feel for the french-their location has made them front and center for many wars for many centuries
Even during the rescue, he believed Britain a natural ally. Would change his mind with Churchill's ascendancy.
Care to elaborate?
The advancing German forces in the area also didn't have the firepower or numbers that those on the beach assumed they had.
How much of it was down to Hitler?
thoughts? This isn't remotely close to anything I've read on this...from Shirer to Churchill.
He was also opposed by the French 1st army which was decimated while holding the line. So the French army was also heroic in Dunkirk
As I recall, the Army wanted to continue a ground attack but Goering told his 'Air Force' could do the job better and obviously failed.
I've read that Hitler held back the Wehrmacht in favor of the Luftwaffe because generals like Rommel were already getting too much credit
Smacks of striking similarities between tRump and hitler continue daily
Also the generals at rear thought the their tank spearheads needed a stop to rearm/refuel/repair/reform to prevent counter attacks
Much to the chagrin of the guys at the pointy end.
The Waffen SS might have participated in such a slaughter, but not rank and file Wermacht.
Hi, David. May I recommend Blitzkrieg by L. Clark?… Hitler stalled to reign in his generals and cement his authority
Wait. Walter Lord explains it was EGO - combo of Goering's&Hitler's. Wanted spectacular Luftwaffe event which Goering guaranteed.
1-Interesting point. But doesn’t explain why he stuck with this strategy? At some point, it must’ve been clear that they wouldn’t surrender
2-and that the British were being evacuated effectively. Any historical record on what German commanders wanted to do?
I agree, but Hitler often had overly optimistic thinking, (sometimes delusional) Churchill's never surrender speech made it clear
Dunkirk allowed that speech
Maybe that will be Trump's metaphorical mistake too.
Weren't uk/ger pow s treated fairly during WWI? In '40 they would have assumed the same
How did they keep sending people into the Somme?
Don't think that the enemy holding prisoners is in general a problem for serious war efforts. May reduce atrocities though (area bombing)?
War seen thru lens POW history looks different, many facets await exploration, i.e. fates Axis POWs of French. Fr archives hv treasures.
Wasn’t that also the case with occupied portions of Russia?
Not sure about that one, honestly. The shock of having so many (and the best of the British Army) captured might have been too much.
Hate disagreeing with a historian on a matter of history, but...BEF was all that UK had at men in arms. UK for the taking if defeated in '40
Objectively yes. But without the core and elite of their army.
As a strictly defensive posture to keep off UK ( island )maybe. After conteninent captured, UK not such a factor anymore.
Hitler probably couldn't have invaded even if the british army was destroyed. But who know if he might have tried.
Not so sure about that one either. UK was on the ropes.
1.8 million? Really?
Something about Eisenhower had something to do with something.
Trump doesn't.
Sadly, I don't think one can assume such a thing in the Trump Era.
I assume you're not talking about @realDonaldTrump when you assume that
Trump might not know how WW2 ended, but I doubt he's following you so you won't spoil anything for him. Proceed.
Democrats expert at re-writing history
Visit once the village and environment. 8 Years after Dunkirk, there was the congress of Europe in The Hague (…)
Congres van Europa (1948)
Congres van Europa (1948)
I wouldn't necessarily assume that.
Going to see it in 70 mm in an hour. After all the hype, just hoping it won't disappoint.
70mm IMAX tonight! I can't wait.
I'm jealous! Hear audio has you IN the conflict, entire film. Sounds terrifyingly captivating. Enjoy!
I'd recommend IMAX over 70mm if you have to choose. I know what Nolan says but too much cropping in non-IMAX formats.
One of the great movies of all time. I saw it in IMAX.
It's stunning. Don't expect anything other than a visceral experience. It doesn't let you go from start to finish
Saw it yesterday, sobering, sad and inspiring st the same time. Everyone left the theater very quiet!
You won't be disappointed. It's one of the best movies I've seen. :-)
"off-brand"??? Ok, maybe you could just say, this twitter account is full of thoughts and observations on your life.
Dunkirk is a modern masterpiece of film making. A stunning achievement for Christopher Nolan.
Funny that his last movie Interstellar tried to evoke 2001 but this movie's wide aerial shots actually made me think of Kubrick even more
Except for the lack of context, politics, thought or dialogue
When people are being hunted from the sky, they don't tend to be chatty. Politics? Really? War & survival & pulling together. Remember that?
context is clear, it's inherently political, you think this film lacked... thought? huh? and, it's a film... show, dont tell and all that
you aren't a candy bar. Trust me, the most interesting people in life are never "brands".
Interesting insight David.
Nothing is better than the facts of history. What a great way to start the weekend. Thank you!
FYI - Saying "off-brand" makes you sound like your TL is a fake persona created to bolster an image so you can make more money.
Thanks for reminding us how the difficult the French position was. History is vast & many faceted.
Thank you for the history lesson , I never thought or have read about the power of Britain potential pow's and that of Frances on the war
Saw Dunkirk last week. It's only maybe 1:30 long but totally riveting. #sacrifice #country
No no no! Cannot skip😎
No, no, excellent thread.
Well ok but doesn't really explain stop order. Why give brits any time at all to coalesce? Why not bulldoze into them asap?