Victor Davis Hanson places the new film Dunkirk in its full historical context, explaining the events that preceded it, the scope of the challenges facing the British military, and the reason why German forces didn’t strike a killing blow despite Allied vulnerability.

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Published in: History, Military

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There are 9 comments.

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  1. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    As usual, this is a very interesting discussion.

    • #1
  2. T-Fiks Member
    T-Fiks
    @TFiks

    I wish Hanson would have been asked about what he thought of Nolan’s depiction of the scene at Dunkirk, the lack of leadership, the opportunism of many of the main characters, and maybe even the post-modernistic nature of the whole presentation. What did HE think Nolan was trying to convey?

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Thanks, gentlemen.

    • #3
  4. Blue Yeti Admin
    Blue Yeti
    @BlueYeti

    T-Fiks (View Comment):
    I wish Hanson would have been asked about what he thought of Nolan’s depiction of the scene at Dunkirk, the lack of leadership, the opportunism of many of the main characters, and maybe even the post-modernistic nature of the whole presentation. What did HE think Nolan was trying to convey?

    Victor will be on this week’s Ricochet Podcast and we’ll try and ask this for you.

    • #4
  5. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    If were taking requests for Victor, can you ask him to stop talking about Chamberlains selling out for Appeasement.  His information on the subject is so dated.  I can elaborate the intelligence failures that led to him making the Peace in our Time deal, if you like.  We (historians) now have access to what really happen, and Victors responses these days are very cringe inducing.

    • #5
  6. soccerlad14 Inactive
    soccerlad14
    @soccerlad14

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):
    If were taking requests for Victor, can you ask him to stop talking about Chamberlains selling out for Appeasement. His information on the subject is so dated. I can elaborate the intelligence failures that led to him making the Peace in our Time deal, if you like. We (historians) now have access to what really happen, and Victors responses these days are very cringe inducing.

    By all means, elaborate.

    • #6
  7. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    I am certain I have posted this before.  But Chamberlains meets with his Military Staff and each branch gives him their take on a war with Germany over Chekloslovakia.

    The Royal Navy says, “Well were the strongest navy in the world.  This shouldnt be a problem.”

    The Army says.  “Due to the previous governments decisions we only have 4 divisions.  We wont be able to make any meaningful comitments to help fight with the French against Germany.”

    The Air Force says, “The Germans have 4000 bombers.  They will destroy London in two weeks, killing tens of thousands and creating at least a million refugees.  And there is nothing we can do to stop it.”

    Complete and utter nonsense.  One of the greatest intelligence blunders in the history of mankind.  Makes the utter incompetence of WMDs in Iraq like a joke.

    There are a lot of reasons for this from the air staff that would fill a 5000 word article.

    So Chamberlain gave up the Chezks for time.  He ordered an increase of the Naval building plan already building the King George  class of battleships and ordering the construction of the Lion class (sadly never completed).  They passed conscription and began a major expansion of the army, so that they could send a real force to France.  The Radar was ordered into construction and advanced fighter planes were put into production.

    Chamberlain bought time.  Now one could argue that he didnt need that time, that the Germans in 20/20 hindsight were much weaker and wouldnt have been able to keep up with the French army.  But given the French inability in 40 to do much (Of course different generals could have changed this.  If Weygand had been in command instead of Gamelin we have a whole different war.

    Weygands ego would never allowed him not to press onto the Rurh.

    Also I could go to town on the nonsense that was talked about here about the British Dunkirk situation.

    Basically no German General wants to Von Kluck.  Its not really written about but the fact is that in WW1 the Germans widely believed they failed to take Paris in 1914, because Von Klucks army is out of position chasing the British all over Northern France instead of flanking Paris. Every single German General wants the glory of capturing Paris.  A city that wont fall for another 2 weeks after Dunkirk evacuation is over.

    History tends to think of Dunkirk as something happening in isolation, but the pocket there is just a pocket, and the Germans want the troops there freed up so they can fight the still very active and as far as they are concerned powerful French army fighting in death ground.  They have no way to know that in a month the French will surrender.  For all they know the conquest of France will take another year.

    Also Von Leeb is doing his utmost with the army group at his disposal to win.

     

    • #7
  8. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    Anyways so I could go on for a while.  But i have a plane to catch in the morning.

    • #8
  9. soccerlad14 Inactive
    soccerlad14
    @soccerlad14

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):
    “The Air Force says, “The Germans have 4000 bombers. They will destroy London in two weeks, killing tens of thousands and creating at least a million refugees. And there is nothing we can do to stop it.”

    There are a lot of reasons for this from the air staff that would fill a 5000 word article.

     

    Basically no German General wants to Von Kluck. Its not really written about but the fact is that in WW1 the Germans widely believed they failed to take Paris in 1914, because Von Klucks army is out of position chasing the British all over Northern France instead of flanking Paris. Every single German General wants the glory of capturing Paris. A city that wont fall for another 2 weeks after Dunkirk evacuation is over.”

    So…the RAF screwed Neville with bad intel and the Germans were too occupied with capturing Paris that their letting 300K enemy troops escape at Dunkirk was no biggie? Seems a little too trite/cut and dried. Were these things unassailable facts of history it wouldn’t be left to a Ricochet commenter to stoop slap a military historian who [literally] wrote the book on WWII.

    • #9
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