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Old 14th December 2018, 07:43 AM   #2001
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Subject for a different thread I think.
Not ine that would interest me. I am not keen on historic fiction.
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Old 14th December 2018, 09:22 AM   #2002
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Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
Wishful thinking. As has been pointed out to you, and you've repeatedly ignored, Churchill called for large increases in military spending from the time the Nazis first came to power, but until the late 1930s those calls were mostly rejected by Chamberlain, first as Chancellor, and later as PM. Please explain how this squares with your claim that Chamberlain knew war with Germany was inevitable (hint: it doesn't).

This is simply yet another attempt by you to cast appeasement as a good idea, merely because Churchill opposed it. Fail.
Chamberlain was not a pacifist. He supported the reasons for going to war in 1914-18, whatever those reasons were, and he was quoted as saying we must be too strong to be attacked and that we should not delude weak and small countries into thinking they will be protected from aggression by the League of Nations, and that treaties and agreements (like the Munich piece of paper and Nazi -Soviet pact) can not be depended on to keep the peace.

Money was spent by Chamberlain on Spitfires and radar.

Last edited by Henri McPhee; 14th December 2018 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 14th December 2018, 09:36 AM   #2003
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Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
Also, Henri, we're still waiting for you to explain, in detail, among other things:
[*]Why Chamberlain ceded the Treaty Ports back to Ireland in 1938, if he knew that war with Germany was inevitable.[/list]
The Treaty Ports were a sore point with the Irish, who had no principles but fought to the death to defend them. It's a bit like all this empty waffle nowadays about the Irish backstop and WTO rules.

There is an explanation about it all at this website:

http://www.theirishstory.com/2018/05.../#.XBPanPZ2suI

Quote:
By 1938, however, both de Valera and the British government of Neville Chamberlain, were eager to normalise relations with each other. De Valera agreed to pay a lump sum towards the land annuities and in return, Chamberlain lift the onerous tariffs on Irish agricultural imports.

Most importantly though, the British agreed to return to Ireland the three ‘Treaty ports’ on the Atlantic Coast.

The British analysis was that the ports had not been well-maintained, required investment and would be difficult to defend in wartime should the Irish ever try to take them back. But the British thought they were being returned to Ireland on the implicit understanding that British naval forces would be allowed to use them in the event of a European war.

De Valera, on the other hand, had insisted that the return of the ports be unconditional and when war broke out, refused the British request to use the ports as anti-submarine bases.

Last edited by Henri McPhee; 14th December 2018 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 14th December 2018, 11:38 AM   #2004
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
The Treaty Ports were a sore point with the Irish, who had no principles but fought to the death to defend them. It's a bit like all this empty waffle nowadays about the Irish backstop and WTO rules.

There is an explanation about it all at this website:

http://www.theirishstory.com/2018/05.../#.XBPanPZ2suI
You do realize that the Irish were being totally principled here:

The Irish were maintaining that they were a sovereign nation.
One of the principles of sovereignty is territorial integrity.
Allowing the naval forces of another nation (and one that you'd just fought a war against to become sovereign to boot) to freely use naval bases in your country is contrary to the principles of territorial sovereignty.

You might want to tone down the anti-Irish bigotry to "non-existent" from the "racist grandpa claiming "some of my best friends are.."" levels your doing now.
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Old 14th December 2018, 11:58 AM   #2005
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
Chamberlain was not a pacifist. He supported the reasons for going to war in 1914-18, whatever those reasons were, and he was quoted as saying we must be too strong to be attacked and that we should not delude weak and small countries into thinking they will be protected from aggression by the League of Nations, and that treaties and agreements (like the Munich piece of paper and Nazi -Soviet pact) can not be depended on to keep the peace.

Money was spent by Chamberlain on Spitfires and radar.
You realize that Great Britain went to war in 1914 as a result of its treaty obligations to Belgium, a small country that needed protection from a larger one.

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Old 14th December 2018, 04:14 PM   #2006
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Originally Posted by Drewbot View Post
Dunkirk may be the greatest military achievement of all time, and it came in the form of a defeat.
Depends how you look at it. In von Clausewitz's view, decisive victory meant not only driving the enemy from a particular battlefield, but pursuing them and destroying their ability to fight.

Thus the pursuit of the enemy is the final and most important part of achieving victory in battle. Von Clausewitz observes that this is both the easiest and most difficult part of the victory. Easy, because the enemy is in disarray. Their actions are uncoordinated and ill-informed. It may be some time before their retreat is organized. Hard, because the victor is also in disarray - at the moment of taking the battlefield, they are at their weakest and most disorganized. It is very difficult at that moment to assemble a force of troops who can swiftly and successfully chase down the retreating enemy.

Thus, in turn, the acme of success on the battlefield is not the winning of the battle itself, but the winning of the pursuit that follows. If the victory is to be decisive, the retreating enemy must be pursued and destroyed. There are three things to destroy: The fighting force itself; their arms, and their morale.

The defeat to which the Dunkirk is related is not the Battle of Dunkirk itself, but the Battle of Arras, which the Allies lost, and which forced the BEF into retreat. At that point it was the German task to pursue the retreating British and destroy them as a fighting force.

This the Germans failed to do. They succeeded in part. The British were forced to abandon their arms. But the fighting force itself escaped. What's more, far from a devastating loss of morale, British morale actually increased following Dunkirk. In this context, I consider the Battle of Dunkirk to be a victory for the British, who succeeded in making their retreat, without their arms, but with their fighting force intact and their morale improved. And I consider it a defeat for the Germans, who needed to pursue and destroy the British, and failed to do so.

In terms of the morale victory alone, I would say that Dunkirk was the moment Great Britain won the war.

Last edited by theprestige; 14th December 2018 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 14th December 2018, 04:26 PM   #2007
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The defeat to which the Dunkirk is related is not the Battle of Dunkirk itself, but the Battle of Arras, which the Allies lost, and which forced the BEF into retreat. At that point it was the German task to pursue the retreating British and destroy them as a fighting force.
Arras was a minor action, a small scale raid by 74 British tanks and 2000 infantry. Its only real impact on the Germans was to confirm the need for the Panzers to pause and regroup so that their infantry support could catch up. It had no real strategic significance beyond that, the British had been retreating well before Arras took place on 21st May and the Germans most certainly did pursue them, its largely down to the efforts of the British and French soldiers holding the perimeter that they failed to destroy the BEF. A good book to get an overview of the Dunkirk battle is Dunkirk: Retreat to Victory by Julian Thomson
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Old 14th December 2018, 04:35 PM   #2008
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
Chamberlain was not a pacifist. He supported the reasons for going to war in 1914-18, whatever those reasons were, and he was quoted as saying we must be too strong to be attacked and that we should not delude weak and small countries into thinking they will be protected from aggression by the League of Nations, and that treaties and agreements (like the Munich piece of paper and Nazi -Soviet pact) can not be depended on to keep the peace.
So yet another topic you couldn't be bothered to research then?

Quote:
Money was spent by Chamberlain on Spitfires and radar.
Not it was spent by the British government and while Chamberlain was reluctantly nudged into these measures he left the army desperately short of resources.


Here's an actual quote from the time, repeated in the book Dunkirk: Retreat to Victory.

Quote:
History provides many examples of a British army being asked to operate under appalling handicaps by the politicians responsible for British policy, but I doubted that the British Army had ever found itself in a graver position than that in which the governments of the last twenty years had placed it.

Major-General Noel Mason-MacFarlane briefing the press 15 May 1940
Now I wonder who was a major player in the governments of that prewar period? Hint, it wasn't Churchill.
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Old 14th December 2018, 04:41 PM   #2009
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Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
Arras was a minor action, a small scale raid by 74 British tanks and 2000 infantry. Its only real impact on the Germans was to confirm the need for the Panzers to pause and regroup so that their infantry support could catch up. It had no real strategic significance beyond that, the British had been retreating well before Arras took place on 21st May and the Germans most certainly did pursue them, its largely down to the efforts of the British and French soldiers holding the perimeter that they failed to destroy the BEF. A good book to get an overview of the Dunkirk battle is Dunkirk: Retreat to Victory by Julian Thomson
Thanks for the correction. I apologize for mischaracterizing the battle of Arras.

I never said the Germans did not pursue; only that their pursuit was unsuccessful in its task; and that Dunkirk was therefore a defeat for the Germans, and a victory for the British and the French.
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Old 14th December 2018, 05:38 PM   #2010
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Thanks for the correction. I apologize for mischaracterizing the battle of Arras.
No problem, both sides had their reasons for exaggerating its importance over the years, portraying it as the key reason for the infamous 'Halt Order'.

Quote:
I never said the Germans did not pursue; only that their pursuit was unsuccessful in its task; and that Dunkirk was therefore a defeat for the Germans, and a victory for the British and the French.
And on this we are in complete agreement
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Old Yesterday, 09:47 AM   #2011
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Depends how you look at it. In von Clausewitz's view, decisive victory meant not only driving the enemy from a particular battlefield, but pursuing them and destroying their ability to fight.

Thus the pursuit of the enemy is the final and most important part of achieving victory in battle. Von Clausewitz observes that this is both the easiest and most difficult part of the victory. Easy, because the enemy is in disarray. Their actions are uncoordinated and ill-informed. It may be some time before their retreat is organized. Hard, because the victor is also in disarray - at the moment of taking the battlefield, they are at their weakest and most disorganized. It is very difficult at that moment to assemble a force of troops who can swiftly and successfully chase down the retreating enemy.

Thus, in turn, the acme of success on the battlefield is not the winning of the battle itself, but the winning of the pursuit that follows. If the victory is to be decisive, the retreating enemy must be pursued and destroyed. There are three things to destroy: The fighting force itself; their arms, and their morale.

The defeat to which the Dunkirk is related is not the Battle of Dunkirk itself, but the Battle of Arras, which the Allies lost, and which forced the BEF into retreat. At that point it was the German task to pursue the retreating British and destroy them as a fighting force.

This the Germans failed to do. They succeeded in part. The British were forced to abandon their arms. But the fighting force itself escaped. What's more, far from a devastating loss of morale, British morale actually increased following Dunkirk. In this context, I consider the Battle of Dunkirk to be a victory for the British, who succeeded in making their retreat, without their arms, but with their fighting force intact and their morale improved. And I consider it a defeat for the Germans, who needed to pursue and destroy the British, and failed to do so.

In terms of the morale victory alone, I would say that Dunkirk was the moment Great Britain won the war.
Thanks,
I think we are saying the same thing, you just said it more clearly.

I was saying that
Quote:
Dunkirk may be the greatest military achievement of all time, and it came in the form of a defeat
I should have said, Dunkirk may be the greatest military achievement, and it came in the form of a RETREAT.

Definitely not a defeat.
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Old Yesterday, 10:07 AM   #2012
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Was Dunkirk a victory? Yes or no? Even Churchill basically contradicted himself within two sentences.

We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations. But there was a victory inside this deliverance, which should be noted.
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Old Yesterday, 10:34 AM   #2013
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
Was Dunkirk a victory? Yes or no? Even Churchill basically contradicted himself within two sentences.

We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations. But there was a victory inside this deliverance, which should be noted.
I don't see a contradiction here. Human emotions are not systems of formal logic. Neither is commerce; nor is its close cousin, warfare.

Churchill is making a complex, but very important point. The successful evacuation of Dunkirk was a defeat for the Germans and a victory for the British. It was important for the British to recognize this victory and gain the morale improvement that comes with success in battle.

However, it was also important for the British to not rest on their laurels, and squander their great morale gains. Churchill wanted to convert that good feeling into grim resolve. So he reminded his countrymen that there was more fighting to be done, and that final victory in the war would not be a matter of successful retreat, but of determination to bring the battle back to the enemy, and defeat him outright.

"Good job escaping from the battle, but remember that we have not escaped from the war."
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Old Yesterday, 11:07 AM   #2014
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I don't see a contradiction here. Human emotions are not systems of formal logic. Neither is commerce; nor is its close cousin, warfare.

Churchill is making a complex, but very important point. The successful evacuation of Dunkirk was a defeat for the Germans and a victory for the British. It was important for the British to recognize this victory and gain the morale improvement that comes with success in battle.

However, it was also important for the British to not rest on their laurels, and squander their great morale gains. Churchill wanted to convert that good feeling into grim resolve. So he reminded his countrymen that there was more fighting to be done, and that final victory in the war would not be a matter of successful retreat, but of determination to bring the battle back to the enemy, and defeat him outright.

"Good job escaping from the battle, but remember that we have not escaped from the war."
My point was, there really is no way to win an argument of whether it was a victory or defeat. Dunkirk wasn't a tactical or strategic withdrawal. It was an evacuation, the BEF was leaving the field of battle. The Battle of France was lost, in truly stunningly quick fashion. Not even the Germans really expected a victory that quickly. In that sense it was a defeat. OTOH, evacuating the large majority of the BEF when it seemed days earlier perhaps no more than a tenth would make it out, is a defeat for the enemy... and a defeat to your enemy is in some sense at least, always a victory.
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Old Yesterday, 12:16 PM   #2015
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In my view, there's no argument to win. Quibbling about whether Dunkirk was a victory betrays a fairly impoverished understanding of warfare.
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Old Yesterday, 01:54 PM   #2016
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The closure of the Dunkirk beachhead would have been devastating.

If they had captured the BEF in France. The pressure to negotiate a ceasefire for the return of the troops would have been enormous.

210,000 British soldiers having to surrender to Hitler would have probably ended the war.
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Old Yesterday, 07:32 PM   #2017
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
My point was, there really is no way to win an argument of whether it was a victory or defeat. Dunkirk wasn't a tactical or strategic withdrawal. It was an evacuation, the BEF was leaving the field of battle. The Battle of France was lost, in truly stunningly quick fashion. Not even the Germans really expected a victory that quickly. In that sense it was a defeat. OTOH, evacuating the large majority of the BEF when it seemed days earlier perhaps no more than a tenth would make it out, is a defeat for the enemy... and a defeat to your enemy is in some sense at least, always a victory.
Actually it is fairly easy to win an argument about whether or not Dunkirk was a defeat or victory. just apply the normal criteria for deciding whether or not a battle is a victory or defeat. If you do then it is obviously a German victory. Successful flight from a battlefield is not much of a victory or a victory at all the overwhelming majority of the time. Especially since the BEF, left behind over 700 tanks, (40,000 British solders were captured in and around Dunkirk), practically all of it's heavy artillery, masses of trucks, great amounts of guns, ammunition etc. In fact so much equipment was lost it took months to rearm the British divisions. In fact many of the men even lost their rifles!

During and after the war the British were very successful in portraying Dunkirk has a "victory", when it was actually a serious defeat.

It was only a "victory" in the sense that if not for the skill and bravery of the various services involved the great majority of the men trapped would have been captured. Although we must here also thank Hitler for his halt order of May 26, 1940 which more or less stopped German forces for c. 3 days.

In other words the defeat at Dunkirk could have been easily much worst but it wasn't and that was very important in the long run. However it still remains a defeat. I just would not categorize has "victory" all the numerous occasions in which a defeated army manages to escape total destruction. If that is the case than the Falaise pocket in 1944 was a German "victory".

Certainly the British being able to more than 200,000 trained men of the BEF to serve in reconstituted divisions was militarily important and it would have been far worst to lose those men into German captivity, but it doesn't make Dunkirk a "victory". It is instead the difference between a serious defeat and a catastrophic one.
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Old Yesterday, 07:47 PM   #2018
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German forces weren't stopped for 3 days.

I am surprised you are repeating that old myth.
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Old Yesterday, 08:31 PM   #2019
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
German forces weren't stopped for 3 days.

I am surprised you are repeating that old myth.
Did Hitler give a halt order or not on May 24th 1940? (I gave the wrong date it was the 24th of May and rescinded on the 26th of May), Every account I've read about Dunkirk mentions this halt order. I agree that there is a dispute over how much it actually affected the behavior of German troops. Yes I've read that it had little effect and German troops continued to press forward and in other accounts that it did have an effect. I suspect that the order was partially ignored but that it may have had enough effect to have played an important role in saving the BEF from being largely captured.
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