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Intriguingly, the post-independence Muslim nations who deleted their Second World War history – fighting the Japanese as well as the Germans – reflected the First World War amnesia which afflicted the post-independence republican Irish who, until recently, had no time for their men-folk who died on the Somme, at Gallipoli and Passchendaele in British uniform. The true story of the Algerian and Moroccan units has still to be filmed. The Germans threw raw meat into the prison cages of Algerian and African troops – to show cinemagoers how they fought for the food and tore it to pieces like animals. It took another generation to create a Europe in which there would be no more international slaughter.
A justly cynical revue of Nolan’s points out, correctly, that 18,000 French troops paid with their lives to hold the Dunkirk perimeter and 35,000 were made prisoner – almost 140,000 French soldiers were rescued from Dunkirk – but that not only do the victors write history. Algerians were massacred by the Nazis on racial grounds – an act which strongly supports the suspicion of some intellectual Arabs today: that Hitler, after destroying the Jews of Europe and the Middle East, would have next turned his exterminating fury against their Semitic Arab brothers.
Even in this early stage of the Second World War, ethnic minority British citizens did show enormous courage – one of the bravest ARP men during the Blitz was black, although we have yet to see a film about him In my mother’s family scrapbook, there is a tiny box camera snapshot of a very young Robert staring at the Luftwaffe-smashed “mole” leading out to sea from the port of Boulogne – sixteen years after British troops evacuated under fire in May 1940 as their comrades stood on the beaches of neighbouring Dunkirk.
In the photograph, the right-hand side of the Boulogne jetty remains, in dilapidated, post-war France, just as it was when British soldiers scrambled aboard the last ships to Britain, the concrete, right-hand side of the mole collapsed into the sea, just a few old hawsers showing where it stood.
It was a grey, cold day and the sand was grey and there was some unrecognisable, rusting junk along the promenade and several of the old beach hotels were still under repair. History had passed this way and the Brits had returned to other beaches 250 miles further west four years later and Hitler killed himself and we dropped atoms bombs on Japan and, by the time I reached Dunkirk, we’d lost soldiers in Korea and the poor old French were just starting their doomed war to hold onto Algeria.
As one of the North Africans lies wounded, praying the words of the Quran, he is executed by a German soldier. My Dad, who’d fought in France towards the end of the First World War, still felt the betrayal of the country he’d risked his life for when it capitulated to the Germans in 1940, less than three weeks after the last British – and French – soldiers had left Dunkirk.The Brits had already been softened up to hate their French allies by General Mason-Macfarlane, who gave an off-the-record briefing to journalists in London on in which he told them to blame French troops for the demise of the British Expeditionary Force; reporters ran “exclusives” next day – no sources, of course (as usual) – precisely reflecting the words of the general.That's right: all members get full access without paying a dime.You can view profiles, send messages and gifts, chat with singles, be seen and use our Encounters to match with online singles who have liked you. We know you've probably tried several other dating websites in the past and the might not have worked out quite how you expected.