At 5:30 a.m., on May 10, 1940, Nazi Germany began a massive attack against Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. Defending those countries were soldiers of the allied armies, British Expeditionary Force, French, Belgian, and Dutch. The Germans relied on a strict battle plan, using modern communications such as radio to direct troops in the field. As for the allies, they assumed a defensive posture, and relied on hand-delivered messages. As a result, the German attack caught the allies’ off-guard. German Panzer tanks carried out a surprise attack through the Ardennes Forest in France, then turned northward and soon surrounded the many allied armies in Belgium.
Churchill begins his speech by acknowledging the lives lost and how great numbers of men were lost and have suffered greatly. He makes it clear that the French had failed to leave the northern armies from Belgium at the time they knew the French front at Sedan and Meuse was needed. The failure of the French caused the loss of fifteen to sixteen French divisions. Many troops were rescued by the British Navy from Dunkirk. Due to the loss of their cannon, vehicles and modern equipment, it took many weeks to repair what had been broken. Though, there was no time to spare, within the first two weeks, the battle in France had been lost.
After Churchill states all the bad and sorrow that has come out of this endeavor, he goes on with a piece of good news notifying the people that not all was lost. Within only a few days after the attack a great majority of the troops that had been on the line of communication in France; and seven-eighths of the troops that had been sent to France since the beginning of the war had been successfully returned to their homes. They had accounted for 350,000 out of 400,000 men were safely back in the country. Others were still fighting with the French, and fighting with great success in their encounters against the enemy. Churchill also notified Britain that they had also brought back a great number of stores, rifles and munitions of all kinds which had been accumulated in France during the last nine months.
“We have, therefore, in this Island today a very large and powerful military force. This force comprises all our best-trained and our finest troops, including scores of thousands of those who have already measured their quality against the Germans and found themselves at no disadvantage. We have under arms at the present time in this Island over a million and a quarter men. Behind these we have the Local Defense Volunteers, numbering half