Dunkirk Themes

Dunkirk Themes

Fight for survival

The film depicts events happening in the Second World War, a time characterized by instability and violence. The British troops sent to France found themselves in a tense situation when the German army pushed them on the beaches of Dunkirk with no possibility of escaping. The soldiers became willing to do anything to save themselves and the events pushed them to take desperate measures, even resolving to kill themselves when the situation became hopeless. No price was too high to pay when it came to surviving and the soldiers were even willing to sacrifice their comrades just to survive. Thus, one of the major themes in the film is the fight for survival and exploring the lengths a person is willing to go just to live another day.


Another theme in the film is the idea that a person is more valuable if they have the same nationality. During the siege of Dunkirk, the British government made efforts to evacuate the British troops stranded at Dunkirk. The reason why they were evacuating them was because they needed to prepare for a possible attack on England and thus they needed their troops back home. However, they did not expect to take every British soldier home and they had no intention of evacuating the French soldiers in Dunkirk. For the British government, the British soldiers were the ones that mattered and the rest were just collateral damage for them. However, there were still people in the British army who considered the French as valuable people who needed to be evacuated and even remained behind to help the French evacuate.

Every action matters

When the commanders at Dunkirk were informed that the British Government does not plan to send any destroyers or big ships to evacuate them, they became discouraged. When they found that civilian boats were being requisitioned, they thought the civilian boats would never be sufficient and that they are as good as dead. This however proved not to be true as the civilian boats saved more soldiers than the Government expected, thus proving that every action matters and that no gesture is too little or too small if it saves even one person from dying.

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