Article 3415

Title of the article



Kompleev Anton Vyacheslavovich, Candidate of historical sciences, associate professor, sub-department of general history, historiography and archaeology, Penza State University (40 Krasnaya street, Penza, Russia),

Index UDK

94 (100) “1939/45”


Background. The problem of British-German military confrontation of 1940–1941 is an important aspect of World War II historiography. At that period Germany tried to expel England from the war militarily and diplomatically, on the one hand, and started preparations for the military aggression against USSR, on the other. The reasons of such a radical swing of German expansion are still very controversial in historiography. The aim of the article is to analyze the discussion of 1950s–1970s in Russian historiography that was devoted to understanding of reasons for bringing the offensive to a halt at Dunkirk in May, 1940.
Materials and methods. The article is based on the Russian historians’ works on the problem published in 1950s–1970s. It is written with the help of the dialectical approach to scientific cognition and the historism and objectiveness principles. The historism principle helps us to analyze the study subject in its genesis and in co-operation with other objects and events. The objectiveness principle application means that we’ve carried out the research trying to avoid any given value judgments and not working under any particular political conditions.
Results. There are two approaches to understanding of the reasons of “the Miracle of Dunkirk” in Russian historiography. According to the first, the main reason for giving “the stop order” is the desire of German military-political leaders to reserve tank forces for the final stage of military campaign against France. According to the second approach, Hitler’s political motives prevailed. Historians taking this view thought that he considered the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force as an opportunity for an early peace conclusion with Britain.
Conclusions. The analysis of World War II historiography let us conclude that in Russian historiography the largely supported approach is that describing the reasons of bringing the offensive to a halt at Dunkirk by the necessity of French campaign.

Key words

World War II, “Miracle of Dunkirk”, Operation Dynamo, Battle of Britain, Operation Sea Lion.

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