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Explain how the differing reactions of the British people towards the Evacuation Policy.

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Introduction

Hannah Johnson Year 11 GCSE History Assignment Question 2 Explain how the differing reactions of the British people towards the Evacuation Policy. In 1939 the Government decided to evacuate all children from the major towns and cities. Many people were affected by the evacuation policy. It was thought that it was just children that were the only ones but parents, both those receiving and sending children, were also affected. Reactions differed, in children it ranged from misery of missing parents to excitement of travelling alone. Parents who were sending their children suffered from grief but also of relief of their children being safe. Though many people's attitudes changed as the war progressed. Billetors got used to their evacuees and the parents that had sent their children away got used to a life without them to an extent. People had very different reactions to the evacuation policy. Children saw the situation differently; normally it depended on their age and/or the way their parents reacted. Younger children didn't know what was happening and viewed it as an adventure, whereas older children know of the war and the dangers and were more sensitive to the way their parents were feeling. ...read more.

Middle

Many actually felt nervous and scared because of the things that were happening in Europe. A thought that the majority of parents thought at that time was, "...it would be better for families to stick together and not go breaking families up" The Women's Institute was a group who were in charge of a majority of evacuations, they were the ones that sorted children out and were surprised by the evacuees that arrived in their small towns and villages. When children arrived they were appalled by the lack of knowledge in hygiene and cleanliness the evacuees had. "...Verminous children lacking any knowledge of clean habits...not had a bath in months" Evacuees were assembled in school halls and chosen by prospective Billetors, afterwards schools had to be fumigated as they were found infested with lice, fleas and other contagious diseases. Many hosts were upper to middle class and most evacuees were lower class. Billetors were struck with disbelief that any child anywhere could be so oblivious to simple hygienic procedures. This becomes apparent after looking at The World is a Wedding by Bernard Kops, "We were given face flannels and tooth brushes. ...read more.

Conclusion

The experience of living in slums was not one that rural dwellers were familiar with, and it is documented that ninety per cent of children from Stephany, London for, instance, did not live in a house with a bath. There were in contrast, instances of middle-class children being evacuated to rural cottages and experiencing a decline in the standard of living they were used to. One thirteen year old boy recalled "After school I was expected to help Mr Benson scrub down the marble slabs in his butcher's shop, I had never been asked to help my father in his bank". Conclusion The main problems came from the sudden throwing together of people with widely differing standards and attitudes to life, these people in normal peacetime situations probably would not have had contact with each other. There were positive attitudes to evacuation; there are records of evacuees remembering that it was the best time of their lives, and offers from the Billetors to adopt children they had cared for. One startling aspect is that at the end of World War 2, for a variety of reasons, 38,000 children did not return home. This ensuring that the effects of evacuation have had an effect on attitudes into the 21st Century. ...read more.

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