Army

Army

The Battle Over Britain: Army, Part 3

When Winston Churchill rose to speak in the British House of Commons on June 4, 1940, the rescue of British and French troops from Dunkirk was complete.The attempts to create a second British Expeditionary Force for France could not disguise the scale of the disaster that had overcome the Allies, and Churchill made no attempt to do so. "Wars," he insisted, "are not won by evacuations." There was, however, "a victory inside the deliverance ... gained by the air force" that had protected the hundreds of ships and prevented the enemy from gaining air superiority over the beaches. The air force, he reminded the Commons, would have a greater advantage defending Britain and thus "the cause of civilization itself will be defended by the skill and devotion of a few thousand airmen." Churchill’s sp...
Army

The Fall Of France: Army, Part 2

Historians now explain the collapse of French military resistance in June 1940 in ways that make defeat seem inevitable. But at the time, the fall of France was, in the words of the British foreign secretary, "so unbelievable as to be almost surely unreal". Thoughtful people everywhere recognized that the world had suddenly changed; this was either the beginning of Hitler’s Thousand-Year Reich, or--if Germany was defeated--the end of the European age.The fate of France was probably determined in 1936 when Belgium, France’s vital ally in the West, stuck its head in the sand and declared neutrality. Thereafter, the French army confronted a strategic problem that no one then or since has been able to resolve. Put in its simplest terms the French were required to defend a perimeter that stretc...
Army

The Decision To Enter WW II: Army, Part 1

John Keegan, the famous British military historian, has written a new book based on his Barbara Frum Lectures presented in Toronto last spring. Entitled The Battle For History: ReFighting World War Two, it introduces readers to some of the historical controversies that enliven university classrooms. The book is very thin, both in length and substance, and it ignores Canada, but the idea behind it is excellent. In this new series of articles for Legion Magazine I will offer some insight into the battle for WW II history, emphasizing issues of concern to Canadians without ignoring the larger picture.We need to begin with an understanding of why historians, journalists and ordinary citizens often disagree about the past. The problem starts with confusion over the meaning of the word history. ...
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