How useful are sources A, B and C in understanding what the battle of Dunkirk was like? Essay

To determine the usefulness of sources A, B and C we must first look at the value, limitation and reliability of the sources towards the question, what was the battle of Dunkirk like? Source A tells us what the state of the army was like at the time of the battle. It does not however tell us what the battle of Dunkirk was like. The person who wrote the article is a commander in the navy. He is commenting on the state of the army so he does not have as much expertise as a commander in the army.

However, he was there at the time of the battle so it is a primary source which makes it more reliable than something written after. Although he was there at the time he may still be bias. I know that the army and the navy were not best terms with each other so he may want the army to look worse than it actually is. The source itself is of that period of time so the access to evidence will be good. However, the commander was only at one section of Dunkirk so he couldn’t see the whole army. I know that the whole was not in one place and that some of the army were evacuating without it turning into a rabble.

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Source D, the painting by Charles Cundall, shows the troops in some sort of orderly line waiting to get on the boats. This may have been another part of the beach were the commander couldn’t see. Overall, the source is not useful on telling us what the battle of Dunkirk was like. The source does show us what the state of the army was like but that is not the question. Source B is a lot different from source A because it does relate to the question. Bill Elmslie was there at the time so he did have access to information about the battle.

Although Elmslie is in the navy, he speaks about the army in a much nicer way than Kerr so Elmslie can be trusted more. However, it does not corroborate with my own knowledge because the army and navy did not get on. This leads me to believe that it may be propaganda which makes it a lot less reliable. Although it may not be reliable, it is still has some value in answering the question. It tells us that they were still being attacked on the boats and that they were getting attacked on the beaches. Source C has a lot of advantages over the other 2 sources.

First of all, it corroborates with Source F in the coursework booklet because the image shows troops firing on planes. Also, a Cornish able seaman would have no reason to make the army look better than they actually are. It also corroborates with my own knowledge because I know that German planes bombed the troops trying to escape on the beaches. Although the Cornish able seaman was there at the time, the information would have been under war censorship so it may have been changed by the government and this would make it less reliable.

Also, this statement makes the army sound very strong and brave which does suggest it may be propaganda. Therefore the purpose would be to make the army look good so it would be bias towards the army. However, as the information corroborates with my own knowledge and Source F I would say that it is not bias or propaganda. In conclusion, I think that sources B and C are useful in understanding what the battle of Dunkirk was like. Source A however, does not help us at all.

It tells what state the army was in but this is from one person’s point of view and it is only one section of the beach. Source B may be propaganda but it still tells us that the danger was not over once you were on the ships. This corroborates with my own knowledge because in Major Taylors talk he said that they still got attacked on the boats. Finally, source C tells us that they got attacked from the air and that the troops were still fighting back. As this source corroborates with my own knowledge and Source F it a very reliable source.

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