Originally Published 23 March 2002
The 26th and 27th May 1940 Dunkirk evacuation of British and French troops is now seen with hindsight as an example of Britain's determination to resist Nazi Germany at all costs. However University of Warwick Historian Dr David Carlton points out that at the time things seemed so dark for Britain that Churchill himself considered making a deal with Nazi Germany to end the war.
In his book Churchill and the Soviet Union Dr Carlton points out that things were looking so dark for Britain in 1940 that even Churchill himself made it clear that he would not object in principle to negotiations with Nazi Germany, 'if Herr Hitler was prepared to make peace on the terms of the restoration of German colonies and the overlordship of Eastern Europe'.
On the 26th Of May 1940 with British forces struggling to get of the beaches at Dunkirk Churchill went even further saying, according to the War Cabinet Minutes, 'that he would be thankful to get out of our present difficulties, provided we retained the essentials of our vital strength, even at the cost of some cession of territory'. The British territory he may have been prepared to give up is made clear in Chamberlain's diary entry for 27th May, in which he said that the Prime Minister had told his colleagues that 'if we could get out of this jam by giving up Malta and Gibraltar and some African colonies he would jump at it.'