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Summer movies


It’s a good summer if there is at least one summer movie that’s worth going to the theater for. There is one for sure this summer. That’s “Dunkirk,” to be released July 21.

We all know this history, but we never get tired of hearing the story retold. At the time, an alliance of six countries was struggling to hold the Nazis back — Britain, France, Belgium, Poland, the Netherlands, and Canada. In June 1940, in the Battle of France, these allies endured what Winston Churchill called a “colossal military disaster.” The British people assembled a fleet of every boat that was fit to cross the channel, about 800 boats in all, and rescued 338,226 soldiers who were in retreat and trapped in France.

We cannot remember this history without hearing the voice of Winston Churchill, who was surely one of the greatest wartime leaders and greatest orators in history. I rarely read military history, but I’m resolved to find and read a good book about Dunkirk before I go to see this film.

There are trailers here.

On June 4, 1940, Churchill gave a brilliant speech in the House of Commons to which we now give the title “We Shall Fight on the Beaches.” Here is link to the audio, which of course was recorded by the BBC. The full text of the speech is here.

Below is the last paragraph of this speech.

Winston Churchill, June 4, 1940

I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government — every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

The reference to “the New World” is of course addressed to America. It was another year before the United States even sent military supplies. And it was not until almost two years later — December 7, 1941, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor — that the United States came into the war.


  1. chenda wrote:

    Not sure David if you’re familiar with Raymond Briggs(creator of The Snowman) but he made a graphic novel about his parents life in London from the 1920s to the 1970s. The BBC turned it into an great animated film called Ethel and Ernest; sentimental but with a hard edge.

    Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink
  2. daltoni wrote:

    Thanks, Chenda. I will look for that …

    Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink
  3. MHK wrote:

    “Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany” by Norman Ohler gives some interesting insight about why Germany troops did not completely cut of allied troops and Dunkirk happened.

    Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink
  4. Dan wrote:

    Awesome, David. I knew from the first time I saw the trailer I would like this movie. I usually like Nolan, particularly his style (Interstellar was a disappointment, IMHO).

    Sunday, June 11, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

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