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  • Dünkirchen 1940

  • The German View of Dunkirk
  • By: Robert Kershaw
  • Narrated by: Richard Trinder
  • Length: 15 hrs and 28 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (53 ratings)

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Dünkirchen 1940 cover art

Dünkirchen 1940

By: Robert Kershaw
Narrated by: Richard Trinder
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Summary

'Kershaw’s book is a welcome rebalancing; a thoughtful, well-researched and well-written contribution to a narrative that has long been too one-sided and too mired in national mythology.' The Times

The British evacuation from the beaches of the small French port town of Dunkirk is one of the iconic moments of military history. The battle has captured the popular imagination through LIFE magazine photo spreads, the fiction of Ian McEwan and, of course, Christopher Nolan’s hugely successful Hollywood blockbuster. But what is the German view of this stunning Allied escape? Drawing on German interviews, diaries and unit post-action reports, Robert Kershaw creates a page-turning history of a battle that we thought we knew.

Dünkirchen 1940 is the first major history on what went wrong for the Germans at Dunkirk. As supreme military commander, Hitler had seemingly achieved a miracle after the swift capitulation of Holland and Belgium, but with just seven kilometres before the panzers captured Dunkirk – the only port through which the trapped British Expeditionary force might escape – they came to a shuddering stop. Only a detailed interpretation of the German perspective – historically lacking to date – can provide answers as to why.

Dünkirchen 1940 delves into the under-evaluated major German miscalculation both strategically and tactically that arguably cost Hitler the war.

©2022 Robert Kershaw (P)2022 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

"Robert Kershaw’s accurate and gritty account provides a fresh coherency to the German action in Belgium and France in the spring of 1940. His methodical approach dispels many of the myths surrounding Dunkirk." (David Price, bestselling author of The Crew)

"Military history of the highest order." (Jonathan Dimbleby, author and broadcaster)

"Impeccably researched, a unique and enthralling approach–Dunkirk solely from the victors’ perspective." (Anthony Tucker-Jones, author of Churchill, Master and Commander)

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Excellent and well detailed.

Fascinating listen, it could have been so different. Dunkirk was sold as a triumph, the German version somewhat different. Well worth a read.

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Brilliantly Balanced

At last, full credit given to the Belgian and French Armed Forces in a disaster caused by the naive foolishness of Belgian & Dutch neutrality, the grand error of the Dyle "Plan" and the total absence of Allied leadership & coordination in the face of radical new Wehrmacht methods of breakthrough!
Full credit to the RAF too.
Above all, we get a full explanation of the military context for the "Stand Still Order". The successful evacuation of 338,000 troops by sea was after all exceedingly far-fetched & the depleted Panzer Divisions were needed down South.
The experiences of the soldiers at all levels during the whole campaign leading to Dunkirk is also fully & brilliantly reflected.
Puts the Dunkirk Films (even the excellent 1958 one) firmly in the shade for facts and context.

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Detailed account

Interesting facts and very detailed account of the confusion and luck around the BEF evacuation

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Good, interesting, innovative

I have read more than a dozen of Dunkirk "stories" and seen some films - all were produced by the allies side. It's a bit different, so it is a real added value to the whole Dunkirk story. I have more respect for French performance in 1940 campaign now and it was also interesting to learn about Germans thinking when they were at the top of their conquests. I highly recommend this audiobook.

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An Exciting and Tragic Story

The narration is faultless and the story gripping. The book is superbly well written and extremely well researched. It is also humane, balanced and precise. Very enjoyable but also tragic - such a waste of human life and resources, for what end?

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A very clear truth of the Dunkirk withdrawal

Loved this book. I've always thought that he French just surrendered at Dunkirk. How wrong have I been. The northern French army fought a tremendous battle to keep German forces at bay, right until the end.
The British army as always fought brilliantly, and being one of the smaller armies did tremendously well under the circumstances.
I have been utterly engrossed in this audio book, and got my map of northern France out to see the whole area of battle.
One thing that has always puzzled me though is that the French army was superior in every way to Germany, even their ranks could putting the Panzer 4 German workhorse, and there is little mention of the French air force being used at Dunkirk.
I know it is now history, but this historic defeat of France and Great Britain, tells a sad truth that you must be prepared to confront 'Willie's of which Germany at that time was the biggest and most dangerous.
Great narration throughout this audio book.

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Different and interesting

Different side of the evacuation of Dunkirk as someone who has grown up with the British story of Dunkirk ,to see how the Germans saw and viewed this was interesting

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German perspective?

I have regularly wondered while listening to this book as to whether I have downloaded the wrong book by mistake. It does have some of the German perspective, but I would say that the vast majority of it seemed to be the British perspective.

I wanted to listen to this as I was really blown away by D-day through German eyes, which was just fascinating. I also loved Waterloo by Tim Clayton who was very effective at hammering home the message that really the Prussians won Waterloo, at least that's what I took from it.

I wouldn't say this was anything like either of those, in that it didn't have those incredibly candid and uncomfortable perspectives revealed in D-day through German eyes nor was it as exhaustingly gripping as Waterloo by Tim Clayton.

For me this was a solid history book, mainly from the British perspective. The postscript does reveal the reasons for this, namely the scarcity of the German sources. In many respects I thought that the postscript was the best bit, it certainly seemed to be the most coherent attempt to establish what the German perspective really was and delve more into the context of the battle for the rest of the war. It's just a shame that the rest of the book wasn't much more like that, if it were to deliver on the title at least.

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1 person found this helpful