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The Evacuation of Dunkirk happened during World War II (1939-1945). The evacuation includes the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and other Allied troops. The evacuation saved 340,000 people from the Allied Forces. It happened at the French Seaport of Dunkirk to England and lasted for about nine days.
See the fact file below for more information on the Evacuation of Dunkirk or alternatively, you can download our 21-page Evacuation of Dunkirk worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
WORLD WAR II: BACKGROUND
- World War II occurred from the year 1939 to 1945. It started when the German, Adolf Hitler, invaded Poland. After two days, there was a war declared by France and Britain against Germany.
- World War II was between the Axis Powers and the Allied Forces.
- Germany, Italy, and Japan made up the Axis Powers.
- The Allied Forces involved France, Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union. World War II was considered the most destructive war in the world’s history.
- Million of people died, a lot of property was damaged, and the war cost a large amount of money.
THE BLITZKRIEG AND COLLAPSE OF THE ALLIED
- The Evacuation of Dunkirk started from the invasion of Germans in the Low Countries and Northern France. The attack started on May 10 of 1940.
- The blitzkrieg attack of the Germans on the Netherlands apprehended the parachutist. It put the mobile ground forces at risk.
- The Dutch army retreated. On May 12, the German tanks were on the borders of Rotterdam. The next day, the Dutch surrendered to the Germans.
- On May 10, the invasion of Belgium started. The German air forces arrived at the post of Eben-Emael. The next day, the Belgian defenses were invaded.
- The tanks of the Germans moved westward. The Belgian, French, and British retreated between the line of Antwerp and Namur.
- The invasion of Germany on France depended on Gen. Paul Ludwig von Kleist’s surprise attack. On May 10, German tanks bridged across Luxembourg to the southeastern border of Belgium. On May 15, the Germans invaded the defenses of France, turning their direction to the English Channel.
- The Allied leaders were hoping for an attack to stop the expanding invasion. The remaining defenses of the Allied Forces were not properly manned in time.
- The Germans still advanced and blocked communication between north and south.
THE BATTLE OF ARRAS AND THE BELGIAN SURRENDER
- The Allied Forces planned on defeating the Germans at the Dyle Line.
- However, on May 16, Gamelin knew that the defensive line was impossible.
- The allied armies moved back to the Line of Scheldt.
- However, the communications were cut off and they could not determine their positions. On May 19, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) considered the possibility of evacuating the forces.
- Gen. John Gort said that the evacuation would be by the sea and it should be planned accordingly. Two divisions could only be used for attack. On May 21, two tank battalions were launched. It was surprisingly effective against the German troops.
- The attack by the Allies momentarily shocked the German High Command.
- After the attack, the Allied Forces did not make further efforts to break the invasion.
- The government and commanders had confusion because of their different views and orders.
- Gen. Gort’s armies were withdrawn from the front and rear defenses of the Allies.
- Two divisions were assigned for Weygand’s (the new Supreme Command).
- The two divisions moved north. On May 27, the two divisions arrived. The Belgian center was invaded.
THE MIRACLE EVACUATION OF DUNKIRK
- Even before the Belgians surrendered, the government declared the launching of OPERATION DYNAMO. It was the codename of the Evacuation of Dunkirk.
- The admirals had been gathering small items to help save the troops.
- Adm. Bertram Ramsay was the overall command for the Operation Dynamo.
- Capt. William Tennant served as the tactical surveillance. The evacuation started on May 26, 1940.
- Capt. Tennant arrived at Dunkirk on May 27. He discovered that there were not enough port facilities.
- Lifting troops from the beaches would consume too much time. However, the breakwaters caught his attention.
- The eastern breakwater was a wooden boardwalk about 1.3 kilometers long, wide enough for a four side by side segment of troops.
- 200,000 troops used the breakwater to transport them to the rescue ships. However, the remaining Allied forces had to be taken directly from the beaches, which made the evacuation slower. The evacuation lasted from May 26 to June 4 of 1940.
- June 2, 1940, Capt. Tennant radioed Adm. Ramsay that the BEF were evacuated safely.
- Capt. Tennant and Gen. Harold Alexander explored the beach area.
- 198,000 British troops and 140,000 Allied Forces troops were evacuated.
- The evacuation would not have been possible without the help provided by the fighter aircraft. The Miracle Evacuation was also successful because of the good discipline of the troops.
Evacuation of Dunkirk Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Evacuation of Dunkirk across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Evacuation of Dunkirk worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Evacuation of Dunkirk which happened during World War II (1939-1945). The evacuation includes the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and other Allied troops. The evacuation saved 340,000 people from the Allied Forces. It happened at the French Seaport of Dunkirk to England and lasted for about nine days.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Evacuation of Dunkirk Facts
- The Miracle Analysis
- The Headline in Dunkirk
- Dunkirk’s Timeline
- The Assembly
- Filling the Evacuation
- The Conflict of the Evacuation
- Evacuation on Film
- Poem of the Miracle
- Honoring Dunkirk
- Dunkirk’s Will
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Use With Any Curriculum
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