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Retreat to victory

We wrote about Dunkirk yesterday.

Richard North reminds us of "a new(ish) book by Major General Julian Thompson" called Dunkirk, Retreat to Victory.

Retreat to victory is the theme of Richard's post on the EU and the Lisbon Treaty. He points to a quotation in Thompson's book that deals with General Gort, commander of the BEF in France in 1940 -

Gort's decision to evacuate his army at Dunkirk saved the BEF. He may not have been a brilliant army commander. . . But he was able to see with absolute clarity that the French high command were utterly bankrupt of realistic ideas and that consequently Allied plans would lead nowhere, and he had the moral courage and unwavering willpower to act in the face of censure and criticism, thus ensuring that the BEF was saved. There are few occasions when the actions of one man can be said to be instrumental in winning a war. This was one of those. Had the BEF been surrounded, cut off and forced to surrender, it is inconceivable that Britain would have continued to fight without an army.

Faced with an unwinnable battle, therefore, Gort did the only sensible thing. He cut and ran – the precursor to rebuilding and re-equipping a damaged army. With new allies and against a weakened enemy, his successors were thus able to return to Europe and comprehensively defeat the Nazis.

North sees a parallel between the retreat to victory at Dunkirk and the coming defeat for Britain with the Lisbon treaty and the retrenchment and rebuilding necessary for defenders of freedom.