Dunkirk evacuation, (1940) in World War II, the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force and other Allied troops from the French seaport of Dunkirk to England. Naval vessels and hundreds of civilian boats were used in the evacuation, which began on May 26. When it ended on June 4, about 198,000 British and 140,000 French and Belgian troops had been saved. Nazi Germany invaded northern France and the Low Countries in May 1940 during the early years of World War II. The German strategy, called blitzkrieg, relied on sustained and concentrated forward momentum to ensure a swift victory before the enemy could respond. Gen. Paul Ludwig von Kleist surprised the Allies by advancing through Luxembourg and into France over the course of five days. France did not have the strength to mount an immediate counteroffensive. The French government panicked and nearly evacuated Paris; their worries were compounded by further German advances into Belgium on May 17. The Germans cut off various Allied escape ports along the English Channel and quickly shrunk their defensive lines. With Belgium’s surrender on May 28, an evacuation of French and British troops from the European mainland became imperative. Even before the German military forced Belgium’s surrender on May 28, 1940, the British government had been quietly preparing for an evacuation of its ground forces and other Allied troops under the code name Operation Dynamo. They determined that the beach at the French seaport of Dunkirk would best serve this purpose. However, Dunkirk’s beach was too shallow for Royal Navy battleships to safely approach, so the British admiralty assembled approximately 700 civilian craft that would transport troops to battleships waiting in the North Sea. Tennant observed that evacuating troops directly from the beach would be an arduous and potentially costly process. To remedy this, he directed the soldiers to board rescue ships from a 1,400-yard long breakwater to the east. From May 26 to June 4, over 338,000 British and French troops were safely evacuated from Dunkirk. Critical to this process was the British Royal Air Force, which intercepted German bombers above the beach. Together with the civilians who aided the Royal Navy, they saved countless lives. The evacuation could not have been achieved but for the air cover provided by fighter aircraft from the English coast, the indomitable efforts of the seacraft, and the good discipline of the troops.

It was Adolf Hitler, however, who did most to make their escape possible. German panzer groups had reached and crossed the canal defence line close to Dunkirk as early as May 23, when the bulk of the BEF was still far distant from the port, but they were stopped by Hitler’s order on May 24 and actually pulled back to the canal line just as Guderian was expecting to drive into Dunkirk. Also, a very important factor during this evacuation was the weather. Cloud cover between 28th and 30th May obscured the beaches, preventing the Luftwaffe from bombing the Allied forces and their rescuers as they sailed across the Channel.

The Battle of Britain was a major air campaign fought largely over southern England that went from the 10th of July to 31st of october of 1940. Adolf Hitler had expected the British to seek a peace settlement after Germany’s defeat of France in June 1940, but Britain was determined to fight on. Hitler explored military options that would bring the war to a quick end and ordered his armed forces to prepare for an invasion of Britain – codenamed Operation ‘Sealion’. But for the invasion to have any chance of success, the Germans needed to first secure control of the skies over southern England and remove the threat posed by the Royal Air Force. A sustained air assault on Britain would achieve the decisive victory needed to make ‘Sealion’ a possibility – or so the Germans thought. The Battle of Britain was ultimately a test of strength between the Luftwaffe and the RAF.The British developed an air defence network that would give them a critical advantage in the Battle of Britain. The Dowding System – named for Fighter Command’s Commander-in-Chief Sir Hugh Dowding – brought together technology such as radar, ground defences and fighter aircraft into a unified system of defence. The RAF organised the defence of Britain into four geographical areas, called ‘Groups’, which were further divided into sectors. The main fighter airfield in each sector – the ‘Sector Station’ – was equipped with an operations room from which the fighters were directed into combat. Radars gave early warning of Luftwaffe raids, which were also tracked by the Observer Corps. Information on incoming raids was passed to the Filter Room at Fighter Command Headquarters at Bentley Priory. Once the direction of the raid was clearly established, the information was sent to the relevant Group’s headquarters. From there it was sent to the Sector Stations, which would ‘scramble’ fighters into action. The Sector Stations received updated information as it became available and further directed airborne fighters by radio. The Dowding System could process huge amounts of information in a short period of time. It allowed Fighter Command to manage its valuable – and relatively limited – resources, making sure they were not wasted. Luftwaffe head Hermann Göring didn’t think British radar stations were important targets, and  only one of the stations was completely destroyed during the battle. This was a big mistake as the Germans, every time they attacked, they always faced a squadron of planes of the RAF. 

So they decided that, if they wanted the RAF to be vulnerable, they should do something that would make the radars and all their defence systems unuseful. They decided to attack by night. 

On 7 September, the Germans shifted the weight of their attacks away from RAF targets and onto London. This would be an error of critical importance. The raids had devastating effects on London’s residents, but they also gave Britain’s defences time to recover. On 15 September Fighter Command repelled another massive Luftwaffe assault, inflicting severe losses that were becoming increasingly unsustainable for the Germans. Although fighting would continue for several more weeks, it had become clear that the Luftwaffe had failed to secure the air superiority needed for invasion. Hitler indefinitely postponed Operation ‘Sealion’.

Only 3,000 pilots flew for Britain in the battle. Churchill later said, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

The pilots also had support on the ground the Germans couldn’t match.The British had all the support from everybody because they depended on those 3000 men that were defending the country, and that wasnt the case of the German pilots, who were not treated as well as them. The battle was won in large part because Britain was producing at least twice as many planes as Germany could. In July, 1940, Britain produced 496 new fighters. Not only that, but many English pilots whose planes were shot down would parachute to safety, only to be back in the air 24 hours later. German pilots drowned in the Channel. The RAF became stronger, while the Luftwaffe became weaker.

The Hitler youth was an organisation set up by Adolf Hitler for educating young people in Germany.At school, the  youth would be taught many things related to supporting the Nazis, and the majority were strong supporters of Adolf Hitler.In history: they would learn how the Germans were betrayed by the weak politicians after the treaty of Versailles. After you finished the studies in History, they would have been confident about their loyalty to the Führer was right. In biology:they´d be informed that they belonged to a superior race, called the Aryans, and that they were a special person because of that. In maths: they would understand artillery, calculations, basilic. Also they would put exercises proposing racist things against the Jews. In chemistry: they would develop a knowledge of chemical warfare, explosives, etc.The examples above show how school in Nazi Germany was. In summary, all subjects  had to concentrate on military subjects, the glorification of the military service and the German heroes.After they finished school, they weren’t expected to go to University, unlike nowadays.Outside school, the Nazi indoctrination in young people continued. Nazi youth groups would be created, both girls and boys groups. In this groups, the young girls and boys would go to parades, they would be physically fit and be great cross-runners, they would spend their free time devoting Hitler and the Nazis, etc. The boys would: know how to clean a rifle and keep it in good conditions. The girls would: learn how to cook, sew (coser), and other domestic tasks. They would also be taught about race and how to be a good German mother.Even though the young people were taught all this, they many times felt estranged from their parents as they had different ideology from the Nazis, or they weren´t keen on them.These children’s first loyalty was Hitler instead of their family.They would find it hard to understand that their parents were not in favour of Hitler, when in school and in the Hitler youth they were taught that Hitler was protecting them. If the parents said anything against the Nazi regime, they warned their kids not to tell what they said at home outside the house, because if not they would be punished by the Nazis. But, why did the Nazis use children to influence their parents?The Nazis mainly used  the kids as they were a great material to make a future and they were a mean to make propaganda in their house, and thats how they influenced parents.

Concentration Camps: From its rise to power in 1933, the Nazi regime built a series of incarceration sites to imprison and eliminate real and perceived “enemies of the state”.

Most prisoners in the early concentration camps were political prisoners—German Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats—as well as gypsies,jews, homosexuals, and persons accused of “asocial”  behaviour. Many people refer to all of the Nazi incarceration sites during the Holocaust as concentration camps. The term concentration camp is used very inaccurately to describe places of incarceration and murder under the Nazi regime, however, not all sites established by the Nazis were concentration camps. Nazi-established sites include:Concentration camps: For the detention of civilians seen as real or perceived “enemies of the state”. Forced labour camps: In forced-labor camps, the Nazi regime brutally exploited the labor of prisoners for economic gain and to meet labor shortages. Prisoners lacked proper equipment, clothing, nourishment (alimento), or rest. Transit camps: Transit camps functioned as temporary holding facilities for Jews awaiting deportation. These camps were usually the last stop before deportations to a killing centre. Prisoner-of-war camps: For Allied prisoners of war, including Poles and Soviet soldiers. Killing centers: Established primarily or exclusively for the assembly-line style murder of large numbers of people immediately upon arrival to the site. There were 5 killing centers for the murder primarily of Jews. The term is also used to describe “euthanasia” sites for the murder of disabled patients.

Concentration camps are often inaccurately compared to a prison in modern society. But concentration camps, unlike prisons, were independent of any judicial review. Nazi concentration camps served three main purposes:

As mentioned before, to incarcerate real and perceived “enemies of the state.” These persons were incarcerated for indefinite amounts of time.

To eliminate individuals and small, targeted groups of individuals by murder, away from the public and judicial review.

To exploit forced labour of the prisoner population. This purpose grew out of a labour shortage.