Charles Cundall: Do you agree with his interpretation of Dunkirk?

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Source A is a contemporary painting by the official war artist Charles

Cundall. It was painted at the time of war in June 1940 making it

primary. The painting shows Dunkirk being evacuated by many soldiers

and leaving in boats, there are explosions in the background. The way

that it is painted can show two different viewers to the reader. The

first way being that it was a disaster, as it shows troops with

nowhere to go but back to Britain and that many people were dying as

shown by the explosions and sinking boats in the background. The

source also shows that the soldiers were brave and many people

escaping alive on boats, showing that it was successful.

At Dunkirk over 40% of the French army was lost with over 80% of its

equipment. Therefore the painting could be perceived as biased as it

shows only a small part of the evacuation and the painting could also

be biased as in war times the newspapers and artwork were censored as

if some stories leaked out then morale could be lowered and the

numbers of people enlisting to be in the army could have decreased as

many troops including ‘pals battalions’ believed the war to be

positive in comparison to the high casualties suffered at such vital

battles such as the Somme. However at Dunkirk the British armies were

tremendously brave as the German army pinned them down onto the

beaches whilst bombing then with aircraft. All in all over 300,000

British troops were evacuated with losses of 25 ships. A largely

successful operation.

In conclusion I believe that the picture has a very limited use. I

think this for a number of reasons.

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