With the release of Christopher Nolan’s film, the spotlight is on the seaside town – which may now lure US visitors from the D-Day beaches

Things can look very different from the other side of the Channel. In Britain, Dunkirk has become a national byword for a very British kind of resilience and communal spirit. In France, it is simply the name of an industrial port.

The events of May and June 1940 are largely ignored in the town, and all but forgotten across the rest of France. If they are mentioned at all, it is usually as a shameful prelude to Nazi occupation and the dark years of the Vichy puppet regime.

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