The Battle of Britain Essay

I think that source B is most useful for many reasons such as it gives an entire view of the beaches and there are lots of other people that agree with source B and back I up. I think that both source A and C are also important though.

Source A suggests that the army was unorganised, that the soldiers were panicking and that the navy was the only organised force there. This source is useful in understanding what the evacuation from the beaches of Dunkirk was like especially from the perspective of a naval officer although there are some limitations and problems. Such as the fact that the source was written by a naval officer who was on a boat for the whole thing so had no experience of what it was like to be on the beaches and was simply speculating and that he was in the navy so was probably bias towards the navy and would have said that they did a much better job than the army.

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How Representative this source is counts as well, as it shows how true the source is. there are a few people agreeing with source A in saying that the beaches were in panic, “Contrary to what is generally believed about Dunkirk, there was in fact a certain amount of panic.” But there were a lot of differences; Eric Pemberton who was a soldier on the beaches said “There was no panic.” And Stanley Allen, a seaman said “they hadn’t lost their spirit” and “You were too busy to be frightened at the time.” All of these things decrease it’s usefulness and we are also unsure of how it is written, if it is in a diary then it may be more truthful than if it was in a newspaper.

I think that this source is helpful to find out what the evacuation from the beaches of Dunkirk but it is definitely not the most useful source.

Source B is very useful in understanding what the evacuation of the beaches of Dunkirk was like, it tells you about how frightening it was for men on the beaches and how easy it was for the Germans to cut the men down. This was written by a seaman so as with source A he will not have known what it was like to be a soldier on the beaches but instead will have had an overview of the beaches.

This source is very representative and is backed up by lots of people, such as the German fighter pilot who said, “The beaches were jammed with soldiers. I went up and down spraying them with bullets.” And Sergeant Harry Garrett who said, “You were such an easy target. There was such a concentration in fire by the enemy and we were so tightly packed that they couldn’t really miss.”

This source is useful as it tells us what happened and his thoughts on it, it is also backed up by lots of other sources so is very likely to be correct.

Source C tells us about a RASC sergeant who was incredibly brave and drove off 8 German bombers with a light machine gun. This source is helpful as it tells you about the individual and shows you how brave some men were but isn’t that helpful in understanding what the evacuation from the beaches of Dunkirk was like. It also may have been exaggerated as it was written by a Cornish merchant seaman who will have had no experience of war and may have found what most people in the war do brave. There is also not much to compare this source against, apart from R.V Jones saying “I heard of the commander-in-chief, Lord Gort standing on the beach with two guardsmen as loaders while he tried to shoot down German dive-bombers with a rifle.

As I said before I think that source B is the most useful as it gives us a wide view and tells us what it was like evacuating the beaches of Dunkirk more than A or B. A has contradictions from other sources and C doesn’t tell you that much about what it was like evacuating the beaches of Dunkirk.

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