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Why did the British Government decide to evacuate children from Britain's major cities at the start of the Second World War? & Explain the differing reactions of people in Britain to the policy of evacuating children during the Second World War.

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Introduction

History Coursework - Evacuation 1. Why did the British Government decide to evacuate children from Britain's major cities at the start of the Second World War? Operation Pied Piper, the evacuation of children from major British cities, began in September 1939, the very day that the Germans invaded Poland, before war was even declared, and preparation for it was undertaken well before the outbreak of any conflict. So why did the British Government feel it this necessary to split a child from their family at the outset of the war? During World War One, a new kind of war was developed. Britain was in fear of such a war reoccurring, but thought it was a real possibility because of Hitler's previous actions. He had broken the Munich agreement by invading the rest of Czechoslovakia and Poland. In WWI planes were used to drop explosives from the sky, and poisoned gas was first implemented. The British were thinking back, recollecting the immense disasters of WWI. With a combination of munitions and the advanced flying machines of 1939, the British were scared that the horrors of modern warfare would hit home. In the Sub-Committee meeting on Air Raid Precautions, it was said that, "It is possible that the amount of explosives dropped from aeroplanes might exceed in the first 24 hours (of the next war) ...read more.

Middle

2. Explain the differing reactions of people in Britain to the policy of evacuating children during the Second World War. There were many differing views and reactions to the evacuation policy. The government was keen to promote positive feelings towards the scheme, and many shared them, but many more felt differing emotions regarding the system imposed upon them. During the 'phoney war' no bombs fell on British land, and so its citizens began to doubt the system. The phoney war guided the country into a false sense of security, which many fell into, but the most affected by this were the parents, who even brought their children back to London, thinking them safe, but the Blitz saw them re-located again. 'Foster Parents' were soon found for the evacuated children, and some were shocked, as would be their evacuees. It is easy to find differences between the London city children and their countryside foster parents. There would almost certainly be a difference in manners, background and class between the country dwellers and city livers, but which was often different. There was an equal chance that a poor Londoner would be taken in by a high class, respected family and that a well-off child, would be billeted with a country miner's family, with no running water or electricity. ...read more.

Conclusion

Equal amounts of propaganda were thrown at this stereotype, the government trying to persuade them into following the evacuation scheme. Although these people would have feared for their child's safety at the hands of the Germans more, having the company of their children in a time when everyone needed to 'pull together' would have been a comfort. The teachers that were evacuated with the children would no doubt have felt like they had 'picked the short straw'. They often had no relatives in the area, and had to be billeted with a family, like the children they taught, with only those for company. This may have stretched their professional courtesy to their limit, or it may have forged true friendships in the stressful time. Either way, the teachers affected by the scheme were indeed affected heavily. However, as with all human emotions, people's attitudes may have changed as the war went on. Parents would have undoubtedly felt more at ease with the scheme when the Blitz began, feeling it a horrific section of the war that no-one should have to have been subjected to but may also miss their children during light bombing. Children may start to enjoy their war once more as they grew friendly with their 'foster-parents', and visa versa. Teachers might have grown accustomed to their new home and way of life. Everyone could have, and most did, change their mind of the scheme as the war went on. ...read more.

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