The Battle of Dunkirk was fought in Dunkirk (Dunkerque), France, during the Second World War, between the Allies and Nazi Germany. As the Allies were losing the Battle of France on the Western Front, the Battle of Dunkirk was the defence and evacuation to Britain of British and other Allied forces in Europe from 26 May to 4 June 1940. In one of the most debated decisions of the war, the Germans halted their advance on Dunkirk. Contrary to popular belief, what became known as the "Halt Order" did not originate with Adolf Hitler. Generalobersten (Colonel-Generals) Gerd von Rundstedt and Günther von Kluge suggested that the German forces around the Dunkirk pocket should cease their advance on the port and consolidate to avoid an Allied breakout.
Hitler sanctioned the order on 24 May with the support of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht. The army was to halt for three days, which gave the Allies sufficient time to organise the Dunkirk evacuation and build a defensive line. While more than 330.000 Allied troops were rescued, British and French military forces nonetheless sustained heavy casualties and were forced to abandon nearly all their equipment around 16.000 French soldiers and 1.000 British soldiers died during the evacuation. The British Expeditionary Force alone lost some 68.000 soldiers during the French campaign. Pictures how the sea front at Dunkirk photographed immediately after the completion of the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force earlier in the day.