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''Evacuation was a great success'' - Do you agree or disagree with this interpretation?

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Introduction

History Coursework Assignement 1 2(b) 11/12/02 ''Evacuation was a great success'' Do you agree or disagree with this interpretation? Explain your answer using the sources and knowledge from your own studies. The aims of evacuation by the British government in the Second World War were, to keep up morale by minimising infant casualties from air raids. They also wished to preserve future generations, as well as protect those most vulnerable such as the handicapped and pregnant women. The government also wanted to keep the children happy and un-scared by the horrors of war. Source A shows a crowd of children with their mothers walking to the station in London to be evacuated to the countryside. All of the children and mothers have smiley, cheerful faces and are waving to the camera, they seem excited and happy about the thought of evacuation. I know that excitement was a common feeling shared amongst many evacuees during the Second World War. However the children and their mothers may well have been playing up to the camera, in which case this source does not express their true feelings about the thought of being split up from each other and sent to a strange place. Source D also suggests that all evacuated children are very happy and healthy in the countryside 'And they're healthier and happier. Perhaps they don't say it but they certainly mean 'Thankyou''. ...read more.

Middle

Another source exploits this fact further still, as the Government was forced to provide better conditions, as people were so appalled at the state of the children that had been evacuated. 'Cod liver oil, blackcurrant extracts, and later concentrated orange juice from the united states was given out free of charge at food offices and welfare centres. However, many children had bad experiences of evacuation, and this would strongly suggest that evacuation was a failure. Source B is a description of evacuation from a teacher in 1988. It says how 'children were too afraid to talk' and how the mothers were pressed against the iron bars calling 'Good-bye darling'. This shows how scary evacuation was for so many children; as well as their mothers; many of them had no clue as to where they were going. As this is an interview with a teacher, it is likely to be an accurate and reliable, it also reflects the experiences of many evacuees. Source C is an account from children's novel; it outlines the problems of communication between foster parents and their children evacuee's. ''Oh, I'm sorry, how silly of me, why should we have slippers?'' Many foster parents were surprised at how poor their children were and had to pay out for their requirements. Source E is from a Mass Observation Survey, it is an interview with a farther, he outlines the reasons why many parents think that there children will be better staying at home in the city. ...read more.

Conclusion

By 1944 the evacuation scheme had all but stopped, and not even the panic caused by Hitler's flying bombs and rockets could get it started. This is where the Government had failed to keep up the morale of the country and persuade people that evacuation was the best and safest option for their children and people no longer cared about the possible consequences. The evacuation process was efficient and with a quick response to war. With little notice, children were packed up with only one suitcase and sent to the railway station to catch a train that they did not know the destination of their journey. On arrival, they were lined up and picked out like slaves. Though many experienced a new life style, in the countryside learning new skills that they would never be taught in the city and they became more healthy and clean with their foster parents. Forced integration of people from very different backgrounds exposed the real divide present in the country. Evacuation was certainly the safest option for the children, and the majority experienced a happy new life, where they became healthier, however, no one was without their problems. Mothers, children and foster parents alike were not informed about what was involved in fostering children, in some cases the children were abused or made to labour on farms, in these cases the government had failed the children. Many however, were happy with evacuation but no one was un scared by the horrors of war. ...read more.

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