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"Evacuation was a great success" Do you agree with this interpretation? Explain your answer using the sources and your own knowledge.

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Introduction

"Evacuation was a great success" Do you agree with this interpretation? Explain your answer using the sources and your own knowledge. In many ways evacuation was a success but also a failure in some. In the first three days of September 1939, nearly 3,000,000 people were evacuated to the countryside; this was the biggest mass movement of people in British history. However being a voluntary scheme parents had a hard time deciding; should they send away the things that mean the most to them and possibly never get them back, or keep them with you and risk their lives. I am going to use the following sources to help build on this. Source A shows a big success of evacuation. Despite this it has its problems. First of all it is a photograph, and in being so it only shows one spilt second in history, maybe all the children were really happy at this point but who knows about every other second of their lives during the war? It is also a natural instinct that whenever you see a camera you smile, especially in 1939 when cameras were rare things. The children in the picture may not have been happy about leaving but simply excited about having their picture taken. The photograph also appears to have been taken a stage, looking down on the children, this is how official pictures are taken, and someone taking a picture in a crowd would have taken the picture at eye level. ...read more.

Middle

However these sources are very useful, to start with the extract from the book is written from the point of view of an evacuee from a large city, who stays with someone in the countryside. The foster parents make an assumption that they are "too poor to afford a pair of slippers". Although the real reason they don't have slippers, is because the amount of clothing they were able to carry. This would be the attitude that some foster parents would have had, that the children they were fostering were poor, because they were from rural areas. This was a common misconception among a lot of foster parents in the countryside, however this misunderstanding started the opening up of Britain; country folk had little or no understanding of the city children, all they knew is what they saw, and what they saw was children covered in dirt and lice. After the war many rich influential people from the country began to demand more from their MP's to help these poor deprived children, this improved communications between the countryside and the cities and also helped start the first free health service the NHS. The source also shows that the children in the novel were having a good time because they didn't get angry at them for the mistake about the slippers they simply giggled. ...read more.

Conclusion

Source B however, I feel, was a failure. On the one hand it was written 40 years after the event took place, and memories can fade over time or change because she has seen so many programs and such with different information that the facts and what she has seen has all blurred together in her head, on the other hand something as emotional as evacuation is something that you will surely always remember especially as she was a teacher at this time so would have known the truth about what was going on as apposed to little children she was with who thought they were on holiday? We also don't know who the interviewer was so they could have altered the answers or asked leading questions. She also says that "we hadn't the slightest idea of where we were going" I know that with the poor organization the people didn't know where they were going till they got there. This is also just one person's opinion in the war. With the help of the above sources I have concluded that although there were many problems with evacuation, which can only be seen now in hindsight, that evacuation was indeed a great success, after all it did save millions of lives and was the biggest mass movement in British history. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ellen Funston History Coursework 11W ...read more.

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