18 Inspirational Quotes From Dunkirk

Operation Dynamo, which took place between May 27 and June 4, 1940, was one of the most significant events of World War II since it shifted the balance of power in the Allies' favor. This whole scenario was screened in the movie Dunkirk. List of 18 inspirational quotes from Dunkirk is given below.

The Seattle Times

Dunkirk is a true work of art! This film, directed by Christopher Nolan, takes place in the French port city of Dunkirk during World War II in 1940, where 400,000 Allied troops were boxed in by Hitler’s German forces. The British then devise a strategy to save them from extinction by evacuating as many men as possible from the island, across the English Channel, and back to the mainland to continue the war.

The British forces were trapped between the enemy and the water, with only the Channel as a means of escape. While the troops’ embarkation takes longer than predicted, enemy airstrikes further slowed the operation and frightened the troops. The rescue operation involves the whole British shoreline, including many people. The troops are ultimately rescued after days of waiting by a flotilla of fishing boats, pleasure boats, and lifeboats.

The following are 18 Inspirational Quotes from Dunkirk. The fact that few, if any, of the characters have names is intriguing. The protagonist is the tale. So take your time and appreciate the quotations and teachings.

Some of the best inspirational quotes from Dunkirk are given below:

18 Inspirational Quotes From Dunkirk
Image Source: slate
  1. Death Is A Reality In War.  Therefore, People Keep Doing Their Jobs. – In the initial scenes the Germans are bombing the beaches of Dunkirk where 40,000 Allied soldiers are located.  After the planes passed and the soldiers would duck for cover, they would then stand back up and continue their duties while new casualties were lying all around them.
  2. Smart Leaders Understand The Value Of Partnership – “He’s on me.”  “I’m on him.” – British fighter pilots.
  3. It Takes Everyone To Survive Times Of Desperation – In the English version of the Alamo, hundreds of average citizens sailed their private vessels to Dunkirk to rescue soldiers and get them safely back to England.
  4. Successful People Take Responsibilities Seriously And Do Their Jobs – My favorite character was a private citizen called Mr. Dawson, played brilliantly by Mark Rylance.  He told his son prior to launching his vessel, “There is no hiding from this son.  We have a job to do.”
  5. Survival Is One Of Our Basic Instincts – After rescuing a soldier stranded at sea, Dawson said, “He feels safer on deck.  You would too if you’ve been bombed.”
  6. Crisis Never Leaves You The Same – Dawson added, “He’s shell-shocked.  He’s not himself.  He may never be himself again.”
  7. Smart Leaders Always Create Options – Many of the soldiers on boats positioned themselves with an escape route if bombed.  This would allow them not to become trapped below and drown.
  8. Leaders Always Sit Down To A Banquet Of Consequences To Our Decisions – Dawson said, “Men my age made this war.  Why should we send in our children to fight it?”
  9. Passivity Is Not A Leadership Strategy – Dawson noted, “There won’t be a home if we don’t get our men across the Channel.”
  10. Leaders Are Forced To Make Hard Decisions During Times Of Scarcity – Captain Winnant wondering where the land and air support were said, “The fight is here.”  To which Commander Bolton said, “They save their destroyers and planes for Britain.”
  11. Great Leaders Help People Find Their Way Home – Commander Bolton said, “You can practically see it from here…Home”
  12. A Leader’s Greatest Ability Is Their Availability – Dawson’s son said, “We have to pick up survivors.”  To which he survived, “To do that we must survive ourselves.”
  13. Ordinary People Have The Capacity To Do Extraordinary Things – Ordinary people used their personal vessels to rescue approximately 10,000 soldiers.
  14. Everyone Has Dignity, Even In Death – When a teenage boy was killed by accident, a soldier needing a place to sit on a boat said, “He’s dead.”  His friend replied, “Make sure to be careful with him.”
  15. Leaders Never Confuse Activity With Accomplishment – After arriving back in England, a soldier told someone handing him a blanket, “All we did was survive.”  He replied, “That’s enough.”
  16. Leaders Should Arrive First And Leave Last – The last people off the island of Dunkirk were the army and naval officers.
  17. Great Leaders Pay A Price Others Are Unwilling To Pay – After saving countless lives and taking down dozens of planes, a British fighter pilot, played by Tom Hardy, landed his plane in enemy territory after running out of fuel.  He was subsequently captured by the enemy.
  18. “Wars are not won by evacuation” – Winston Churchill
Image Source: mubi

Hundreds of Belgian, French, and British soldiers were encircled on the beaches of Dunkerque by the German army during the Battle of France, and thousands of them were evacuated to Great Britain. This tragic incident in history gives direction to numerous inspirational quotes from Dunkirk.

Also Checkout: 20 Memorable Quotes From No Time To Die

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