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80th Anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation

Professor Robin Prior, University of Adelaide Professor of History / Fellow Australian Academy of the Humanities, joins Michael on the 80th Anniversary of the ‘Miracle of Dunkirk’.

The Dunkirk evacuation, code-named Operation Dynamo, was the evacuation of Allied soldiers during World War II from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk, in the north of France, between 26 May and 4 June 1940.

The operation commenced after large numbers of Belgian, British, and French troops were cut off and surrounded by German troops during the six-week Battle of France.

In a speech to the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called this “a colossal military disaster”, saying “the whole root and core and brain of the British Army” had been stranded at Dunkirk and seemed about to perish or be captured.

In his “we shall fight on the beaches” speech on 4 June, he hailed their rescue as a “miracle of deliverance”.

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