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When Churchill made one of the most inspiring speeches of the 20th century - 'we will fight them on the beaches' - some thought that it was his way of preparing the public for the fall of France. Others heard it as a direct appeal to the Americans. The Prime Minister was speaking in the Commons in June 4 1940, giving thanks for the miracle of deliverance, the harrowing and breathless evacuation of over 338,000 troops - British and French and Belgian- from the beaches and harbor at Dunkirk in the teeth of nightmarish German onslaught. Churchill was determined it shouldn't be labelled a victory. He was already too late. Hours later, broadcaster JB Priestley was to call it 'an absurd English epic'. The last of the boatloads had returned to Dover in the small hours of June 4th. And the mythologizing had already begun- from euphoric American journalists to the thousands of women who lined up on railway platforms, crowding round exhausted soldiers as if they were movie stars. But was Churchill privately convinced that the Germans were about to successfully invade England?