Hello, blogging world.
If you’ve been following my journeys of photos throughout the summer, you know that I am currently in the beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Today, I walked through a temperate rainforest, crossed a suspension bridge, walked through the treetops and along the cliffside, and wandered about the city of Vancouver. So, what does any good traveler do after a day like that? That’s right, she went to the movies to watch Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk.” Crazy, eh?
In all honesty, a part of why I wanted to see this film was because Harry Styles made his acting debut in it. I was curious to see if the former boy-bander and current solo artist could act (spoiler alert…he’s good). But, I also wanted to see this film because of the story behind it.
For those of you who slept during your World War 2 history class (or if you’re like me and are American), you may not know the true story of the evacuation at Dunkirk.
Let me set the scene for you: it’s May 1940, and the war is well underway in Europe. Hitler’s armies are advancing into France and Belgium, and America is still ‘neutral’. The Germans hit Belgium and Holland so hard that the countries were forced to surrender. The Allied forces (British, French, etc.) were fighting in France to try to stop that country from succumbing to the enemy. However, they were basically backed up against the beach at Dunkirk before they could do any real damage to the German army. I think of it as mopping yourself into the middle of a room. On one side lay the German ground troops, pinning you on the beach with little cover and even less hope. On the other side, you have the English Channel where German U-boats lie in wait to torpedo the shit out of any vessel that comes across it. Then, of course, you’ve got the air, from where German aircraft drop bombs on the beach every night. Sounds like a party, right?
Yeah, basically, if you were stuck at Dunkirk, you were pretty much fucked. If the army fell at Dunkirk, the British would have had to surrender to Hitler and lose the war. Not on Churchill’s watch. He ordered an evacuation of British troops from Dunkirk.
Called “the miracle of Dunkirk,” this evacuation was expected to save 35,000 to 40,000 men. In fact, through the efforts of all those involved (including a bunch of civilians, which I’ll get to in a minute), 300,000 men were rescued from May 26 to June 3. Fuck yeah, Brits!
We’ll skip over the fact that those who weren’t rescued were sentenced to a worse fate of five years as a German POW and the fact that the British did leave the French to fight off the Germans while they were able to get off the beach…oops.
Anyway, the film depicts the story of this amazing rescue in a really interesting and beautiful way. It follows three stories: one on the beach, one in the air, and one on the sea, mimicking the blitzkrieg tactic used by the enemy during World War 2. The stories on land and in the air show how the military survived this ordeal. However, the story at sea is about the incredible bravery of civilian shippers. The real story is that about Operation Dynamo: the operation where 800-1200 civilians vessels were used to shuttle troops from the horrific beach at Dunkirk to the stagnant warships in the English Channel. When they can’t get home, home comes for them.
The film is a thrilling tale of survival in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. It’s worth at least one viewing; I, myself, am definitely going back for seconds.