The Fall of France
80 years ago this week, one of the most extraordinary evacuations in military history was under way: 'The Miracle of Dunkirk'. But how, and why, did the Allies find themselves in such a dire position? On this podcast, I was joined by one of the great historians of the Second World War, Peter Caddick-Adams, who took me through The Fall of France and the Low Countries - one of the most catastrophic defeats in military history. In just a couple of weeks, the German army achieved what it had failed to achieve in four years of brutal fighting in The Great War. They had bypassed the Maginot Line and crossed the the River Meuse to encircle much of the Allied forces at the port of Dunkirk. Was it technology, doctrine, or careless mistakes which allowed this to happen? How did each side utilise these events in the propaganda war? We also discussed the remarkable circumstances troops found themselves in - many of whom were fighting and commanding in exactly the same positions as they had in the First Word War, two and a half decades previously.
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