17 May 2016

Miscellaneous Musing #80: It Would Be Another Miracle if Ignorant People Would Shut Up

As an island state, one that needs to keep the sea lanes open for commerce in order to feed its high population, and one whose people have traditionally feared the ability of an army to seize a government (which a navy cannot do), Great Britain has always emphasized naval over land-based power; it therefore maintained quite a small army (equating to, in the words of one history book, a “colonial police force”) for a country of its importance, even before disarmament diminished its strength through the 1920’s and 1930’s.  In 1940, then, when their ally France quickly terminated resistance to the Blitzkrieg, the British knew that they could not hold territory on the European mainland; they consequently decided upon the long-respected practice of a strategic withdrawal, viz., removing one’s troops to a more easily defensible position, which, in this case, was behind Great Britain’s “moat”, the English Channel.  Anyone who thinks that the evacuation from Dunkirk was a catastrophe doesn’t know much about military strategy; unfortunately, though, public opinion has often been formed by persons who have no expertise in the subject that they are discussing.