Friday, May 28, 2010

Remember Dunkirk

It is right that we should remember the extraordinary week, exactly seventy years ago, when the "little ships" rescued a hundred thousand men from the nazis at the beaches of Dunkirk.

A group of fifty "little ships" sailed from Ramsgate to Dunkirk yesterday, with a whole series of events happening or planned up to the 31st of May. Details can be found here.

It was an escape not a victory, and as Winston Churchill said at the time, "Wars are not won by evacuations." But the heroism of the individuals involved nevertheless both saved a lot of lives and inspired a nation, and the struggle for victory over the following five years would have been even tougher without the soldiers who were rescued from death or imprisonment at Dunkirk.

"Si vis pacem, para bellum." (If you want peace, prepare for war.) The more effectively we remember these words, thought to have been written some 1560 years before Dunkirk by Vegetius but too easily forgotten by politicians in the thirties, the less likely we are to have to pull another group of British service personnel out of similar disastrous situations.

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