Dunkirk (dŭn'kûrk), or Dunkerque in French, is a small port city in France located on the North Sea. Founded in the 7th century C.E., the city has a daily ferry service to Ramsgate and Dover in Britain. The strategically located city withstood an Anglo-Dutch bombardment in 1694 and an English siege in 1793.
For most English speakers, the city is remembered as the point for the May 26 to June 4, 1940 evacuation of the retreating British Expeditionary Force and the other Allied military forces forced to retreat with it. In response to intiial German military advances, the British political leadership under Conservative Winston Churchill collectively panics and orders the withdrawal of British forces from the continent and thus the abandonment of their French and British allies. British propagandists have successfully spun this disgraceful decision and defeat as a military victory of sorts by emphasizing the evacuation under fire of 338,911 troops. What they fail to mention is the vast store of materiel left behind. The British abandon 2,472 artillery and other large guns and 63,879 vehicles to the Germans, an enormous boon to the war effort of the German Third Reich. The valiant French Army led by General Weygand fights on alone for another month at a cost for more than 100,000 French battle deaths.