I was quite taken aback by the recent letter published Sept 3, titled “Don’t feel sorry for the British” by your reader Chris d. Craiker. What started as a brief review of the movie ‘Dunkirk’ turned into a bitter diatribe of Britain’s legacy between the two World Wars. He brought up the point that the movie audiences sympathetic reaction with the British during this most troubled time is unfounded.
First the good stuff – the film is an absolutely, magnificent epic. I had the good fortune to see it on the IMAX screen. A must-see film for everyone, shows an extraordinary day in the life of the Battle of Dunkirk.
It is shown from three viewpoints: from the land, sea and air. This was not your typical blood and gore war movie. However, you are there, you feel every ricochet bullet, every thunderous explosion, every gasp of a drowning man, every twist and turn of the mighty Spitfire fighter plane.
After the movie, I drove back home along I-80, I swear I was still flying the Spitfire, I felt the bounce and lift of the plane as I traversed the Fairfield corridor gently setting it down as the traffic ahead slowly brought me to a halt. It was that type of movie.
Now the bad stuff – Mr. Craiker claims Britain is at fault for being at war with Germany and should have remained calm, less hostile and agree to Hitler’s demands. This way, World War II would have been avoided.
His claims via the Treaty of Versailles (I assume) after World War I were too harsh on Germany and consequently gave rise to Hitler and the Third Reich. His claims may hold some sway to a point, but it was a treaty signed by the Big Four – Britain, France, Italy and USA. He continues his anti-British rampage, declaring that the British Bulldog and the British Empire created more troubled hot spots and unrest in the world, than it was worth.
”Don’t feel sorry for the British. They made their bed, they should sleep in it,” he writes.
Mr. Craiker is obviously anti-British for whatever reason and probably no amount of reason could appease him. Instead I will just address the Dunkirk issue.
Well, I am a little biased in my response, I am British and American, dual citizen. I have the best of both worlds. And what a world it would be without Britain standing alone in the early 1940s after Germany’s blitzkrieg of Northern Europe and subsequent genocide of certain members of its population.
Without Britain hanging on and salvaging 338,000 British and French troops from the Dunkirk beach, it lived on to fight another day. It provided a vital stepping stone with the help of its valuable American and Canadian allies to storm the Normandy beaches on D-day and eventually take Berlin a year later and defeat the Nazis.
The British were naive in their ability to defeat the powerful Nazi force in the early days of the war. Through clever marketing to improve moral they turned the Dunkirk retreat into a victory. But a victory none the less, where the common man volunteered to risk their lives to save their boys trapped on an unforgiving land and potentially watery grave.
You could say the Dunkirk spirit continues in Houston, Texas.