Crit­i­cal events from this month, 80 years ago

To com­mem­o­rate 80 years since the Sec­ond World War, His­tory of War will be tak­ing a look at some of the key events tak­ing place each month of the con­flict

History of War - - CONTENTS | HOMEFRONT -

“WEL­COME HOME!”

Two Bri­tish sol­diers tuck in to food and drink pro­vided af­ter their evac­u­a­tion from Dunkirk, dur­ing Op­er­a­tion Dy­namo. Af­ter the thou­sands of tired and hun­gry troops ar­rived at the chan­nel ports, they were wel­comed by civil­ian vol­un­teers, as well as mem­bers of the Royal Army Sup­ply Corps, who pro­vided hot drinks and food. Feed­ing and trans­port­ing the re­turn­ing sol­diers was a huge, lo­gis­ti­cal op­er­a­tion, with vol­un­teers work­ing day and night, hand­ing out sand­wiches, cheese, fruit, pies and other much­needed, and wel­come, re­fresh­ments.

ITALY STRIKES

Eager to not be left out of the vic­tory over France, on 10 June Mus­solini de­clared war on Bri­tain and France, open­ing an­other front in the south of the coun­try, and across the Mediter­ranean, al­though the Ital­ian armed forces were ill-pre­pared for a ma­jor of­fen­sive. How­ever, by the time Mus­solini en­tered the war, Paris had al­ready fallen and France was on the brink of to­tal ca­pit­u­la­tion.

“ICI LON­DRES!”

On 18 June Charles de Gaulle gave his fa­mous speech, ap­peal­ing to the French peo­ple to con­tinue the fight against the Ger­mans. Though there is ev­i­dence to sug­gest that de Gaulle’s speech was not heard by a large num­ber of his coun­try­men, his words none­the­less be­came a pow­er­ful sym­bol of the early re­sis­tance to the oc­cu­pa­tion, and an op­pos­ing to the Vichy regime un­der Philippe Pé­tain. From his base in Lon­don, De Gaulle con­tin­ued to broad­cast his speeches to France and the UK through the BBC. Ra­dio Lon­dres (Ra­dio Lon­don), a nightly Free French ra­dio pro­gramme was broad­cast by the BBC through­out the years of the oc­cu­pa­tion, with broad­casts be­gin­ning with the words “Ici Lon­dres. Les Français par­lent aux Français” (“This is Lon­don. The French talk to the French”). These broad­casts would also later be used to com­mu­ni­cate coded mes­sages to re­sis­tance mem­bers in France.

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