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Outcome of Battle

Countries Involved

Retreat of Dunkirk

On May 29 there was an unexpected change of fate. The German army stopped its advance on Dunkirk and the Panzer divisions were called back. Convinced that the area could be captured by the German air force alone, Hitler reduced his army in Northern France to slower infantry, with the help of the Luffwaffe in the skies above.


Since there was less German soldiers in Northern France it was then possible for the Allies to rescue 30,000 men, while on the next day over 68,000 troops were evacuated with another 10,000 or so overnight. On June 1 another 65,000 were rescued.


The operations continued until June 4, with a total of five nations taking part in the evacuation from Dunkirk - Britain, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Poland.


In total 338,226 troops were evacuated (220,000 British, 120,000 French, some Belgian and Dutch, and even some German prisoners of war) aboard around more than 900 vessels. Churchill referred to the outcome as a "miracle" and that’s how the name stuck.


This great victory boosted national pride and led to a great boost to British morale, but Churchill as usual kept his composure, reminding the country, in a speech to the House of Commons on 4 June, that "we must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations."


Allied Soldiers escaping