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Map of Dunkirk surroundings, during Allied re-taking of the zone in 1944
Map of Dunkirk surroundings, during Allied re-taking of the zone in 1944

In May 1940 during the battle of France, the British Expeditionary Force in France aiding the French, were cut off from the rest of the French Army by the German advance. Encircled by the Germans they retreated to the area around the port of Dunkirk. The German land forces could have easily destroyed the British expeditionary force, especially when many of the British troops, in their haste to withdraw, had left behind their heavy equipment. For some unexplained and still unknown reason, Adolf Hitler ordered the German army to stop the attack, favouring bombardment by the Luftwaffe. Some say it was because Hitler was still hopeful of establishing diplomatic peace with Britain and was still trying to avoid a full-fledged war, while others contest that the unfavourable terrain (which was not suited to armoured vehicles) and a strategic German desire to retain strength for future operations was the real explanation. This lull in the action gave the British a few days to evacuate by sea. Winston Churchill ordered any ship or boat available, large or small, to pick up the stranded soldiers, and 338,226 men (including 120,000 French soldiers) were evacuated - the miracle of Dunkirk, as Churchill called it. It took over 900 vessels to evacuate the Allied forces. More than 40,000 vehicles as well as massive amounts of other military equipment and supplies were left behind; their value being less than that of trained fighting men. The British evacuation of Dunkirk through the English Channel was codenamed Operation Dynamo.

The city was again contested in 1944, and the Second Canadian Division attempted to liberate the city in September, as Allied forces surged northeast after their victory in the Battle of Normandy. German forces refused to relinquish their control of the city, which had been converted into a fortress, and the garrison there was "masked" by Allied troops, notably 1st Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade. The fortress under command of German Admiral Friedrich Frisius eventually unconditionally surrendered to the commander of the Czechoslovak forces, Brigade General Alois Liška, on May 9, 1945.[2]

During the German occupation, Dunkirk was largely destroyed by allied bombings.[citation needed]

[edit] Postwar Dunkirk

Carnival in Dunkirk
Carnival in Dunkirk

On 14 December 2002, the Norwegian auto carrier Tricolor collided with the Bahamian-registered Kariba and sank off Dunkirk harbour, causing a hazard to navigation in the English Channel.

[edit] Economy

Dunkirk has the third largest harbour in France, after those of Le Havre and Marseille. It is also an industrial city, heavily dependent on the steel, food processing, oil refining, ship building and chemical industries.

[edit] Tourist attractions

  • The Musée Portuaire hosts exhibits images about the history and presence of the port.
  • The Musée des Beaux-Arts has a large collection of Flemish, Italian and French paintings and sculptures.
  • The Carnival of Dunkirk

[edit] Miscellaneous

[edit] Transport

Dunkirk has a ferry connection with Dover in England.

[edit] Sport

[edit] Twin towns

Dunkirk is twinned with:

Dunkirk has cooperation agreements with:

[edit] External links

Look up Dunkirk in
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[edit] References

  1. , Correspondence and papers of the first Duke of Ormonde, chiefly on Irish and English public affairs: ref. MS. Carte 218, fol(s). 5 - date: 26 December 1662 (Description of contents of carte papers). Oxford University, Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts: Carte Papers (2006). Retrieved on 2007-10-17.
  2. , (Czech) Czech army page

(Source: Wikipedia)
 
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