If you could only learn about Dunkirk from the stories that have gravitated towards it; from Mrs. Miniver and Atonement and The Snow Goose – the novels and films – and from Their Finest and The Battle Of Britain and the Dunkirk movie that was made in 1958, and the Dunkirk movie that just came out… If that’s all you had… what could you learn?
Would you understand how the French Army, supposedly the world’s supreme fighting force, bolstered by alliances with Belgium and England, and by an unbreakable border fortification, the Manginot Line, fell in one month?
Would you be able to explain how the 30,000 men that British high command hoped, optimistically, to be able to evacuate before the Nazis closed in turned into 300,000?
And, what would you learn? About Britain, about France, about Nazis… about soldiers, about civilians… about war, peace, victory, defeat, and humanity.
This episode, I imagine what’s just on the periphery of Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk; who else, besides Mr. Dawson, is setting off from England in a little dinghy? Who is up in the air monitoring fuel readings alongside the self-assured RAF Pilot Farrier? Who else, besides the baby-faced private Tommy is ducking the Luftwaffe amidst the dunes of Dunkirk?