Churchill on the front line: episode 4 of our Dark Hours series

Home"Anciens1"Churchill on the front line: episode 4 of our Dark Hours series
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Excerpt from the movie "The Dark Hours", by Joe Wright (2017). - Photo credits: Universal Pictures International France

AUDIO - As part of our partnership with Joe Wright's movie, theatrically on Jan. 3, Le Figaro proposes an audio series in collaboration with Création-Collective. The fourth installment of our six-part saga takes as a backdrop on June 3, 1940, during Operation Dynamo to exfiltrate the British army encircled in Dunkirk.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in office since May 10, 1940, faces a relentless war waged by Nazi Germany. On June 3, 1940, he and his cabinet members eagerly await news from across the Channel. The Dynamo operation has already been launchedThe objective is the exfiltration of allied contingents encircled by the Reich army.

Des soldats alliés sont évacués de Dunkerque (8 juin 1940).
Allied soldiers are evacuated from Dunkirk (June 8, 1940). - Photo credits: Scherl / Rue des Archives / © Suddeutsche Zeitung / Rue des Arc

To keep your head up, we try to talk about the battle of Dunkirk but it is first a disaster evacuation. Battalions lined up on the northern beaches are doing what they can to survive the enemy's relentless shelling and bombardment. The French, Belgian, English and Canadian allies are cornered and give a final heroic effort that will mark history. The pilots of the Royal Air Force try to keep the Luftwaffe planes in check, but they fail to contain all the assaults. There will be nearly 20,000 dead on the side of the coalition.

At the head of the French, General Bertrand Fagalde and Admiral Jean-Marie Abrial. Curious fate that those two men who, later in the war, will each engage in their own way in the collaboration. Prisoner in Germany, Fagalde will volunteer to fight in the Waffen SS (before retracting). Abrial became Marshal Pétain's Marine Minister from 1942 to 1943. In 1940, at the end of the atrocious Dunkirk episode, they were heroes of the nation. It will take them a few months to become traitors to the fatherland.

"We will fight on the airfields, we will fight in the fields and in the streets, we will fight in the hills. We will never surrender."

Winston Churchill, June 4, 1940 in the House of Commons
Un remorqueur civil, avec à son bord des soldats exfiltrés, quitte Dunkerque (4 juin 1940).
A civilian tug, with exfiltrated soldiers on board, left Dunkirk (June 4, 1940). - Photo credits: Rue des Archives / Rue des Archives / BCA

On June 3, 1940, Churchill is on the premises of the Admiralty, a place he knows so well that he has been twice First Lord of Admiralty (from 1911 to 1915 then from 1939 to 1940). He wants to supervise Dynamo itself. He is campaigning for the largest number of soldiers to be evacuated quickly. In a remarkable surge of patriotism, "Little Ships" join their competition. The owners these small pleasure boats break to assist their compatriots and Allied fighters. This event will be a landmark and all of Great Britain will remember it as a symbol of the spirit of resistance of an entire people.

General William Tennant, since Dunkirk, announces that the operation is a success and that he returns to the port of Dover. Despite the general euphoria, Churchill ordered Tennant to return to France. It will be done. On June 4th, the evacuation ends. In total, 338,000 men will have been saved from a certain danger. Winston's speech in the House of Commons goes down in history: "We will defend our island no matter what it costs. We will fight on the beaches, we will fight on the airfields, we will fight in the fields and in the streets, we will fight in the hills. We will never surrender. "On June 4, 1940, Winston Churchill became a living legend.

To be continued in the next episode…


1940, Winston becomes Churchill, an audio fiction in partnership with Le Figaro. A Collective Creation and Binge Audio production for Universal Pictures. With the voice of Paul Bandey and Adelaide Bon. Author: Alexandre Lenot. Director, original music and mixing: Théo Boulenger. Art Director: Julien Cernobori

Source: Churchill on the front line: episode 4 of our Dark Hours series

2 Partages

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