As the twentieth century’s seminal event, the Second World War has inspired its fair share of myths with no grounding in reality. Considering just how gargantuan and intense the conflict was, it is perhaps unsurprising that many WWII “facts” that were actually anything but, ended up getting accepted by many as true. Although many of the war’s myths have been debunked, the passions aroused by the conflict, combined with propaganda, politics, national pride, and sometimes simple gullibility, have given some untruths a staying power. Following are forty things about WWII “facts” that are no such thing.
40. Did Hitler Deliberately Allow the British to Escape at Dunkirk?
The Battle of France in 1940 was a humiliating debacle for the Western Powers. In just six weeks, the Germans did what they had been unable to do in four years during World War I, by routing the British and French armies, and forcing France to surrender. By late May, the rampaging Germans had pushed the British army into an ever shrinking pocket surrounding the port of Dunkirk, and seemed on the verge of annihilating the defenders.
Then seemingly inexplicably, with a decisive victory over the British in his grasp, Hitler ordered his panzers to halt, and left the task of reducing the surrounded forces to the Luftwaffe. The British took advantage of the breather, and managed to pull off a miraculous evacuation. That led to a myth, explaining Hitler’s halt decision as a gesture of goodwill, deliberately allowing the British, whom he admired, to escape.