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Explain the differing reactions of people in Britain to the policy of evacuating children during the Second World War?

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Introduction

Explain the differing reactions of people in Britain to the policy of evacuating children during the Second World War? During the Second World War the differing reactions of people depended upon what role that person played in the evacuation process, and also what background they came from. It depends as to whether the person giving their view was an evacuee themselves, the parent of evacuated children, or part of a host family who received evacuees. Also to fully understand the differing reactions of people we must take into consideration, the people's backgrounds, in particular their own upbringings and also their class; whether they were working class, middle class or upper class. However we also have to look at the communities that the children came from, because children who came from very small, close-knit communities would have a bigger problem with leaving home, it would be far more scary for them and seen as a greater adventure. Firstly the evacuees themselves. The children had differing reactions to being evacuated, often depending upon their class or their age. ...read more.

Middle

For example one child wrote "They call this spring, mum, and they have one down here every year." And another told how the country is a funny place. They never tell you you can't have no more to eat." Another category of people who had to make big changes were the host families. However in some cases instead of the evacuees being a hindrance and problem as many people thought, they sometimes bought a new and youthful energy into some rural areas. For instance one wealthy woman told how her "six lads from London are making this dreary war not only tolerable but often enjoyable." However on the other hand many host families were shocked by the condition of the children, and the poor upbringing the children had had in their working class homes. One woman exclaimed that "the state of the children was such that the school had to be fumigated," and another said how "the children were filthy, they had not had a bath for months." ...read more.

Conclusion

Finally, many parents were apprehensive about their children being evacuated. They felt that the children would be just as safe at home, but would also be far better use to the family and the war effort if they remained at home. This is proven when after 6 months many parents brought their children back home after the German Luftwaffe had failed to deliver the suspected bombing raids on towns and cities. I believe that the reasons for these differing reactions stem from a number of places. Firstly from what role they played in the evacuations; whether they were an evacuee themselves, a member of a host family or a parent of an evacuee. Secondly was their class and background, and finally different reactions came from different communities depending on whether they were very close knit working communities i.e. a mining town for example or whether it was a very open middle class community. Personally I believe that the most important factor in explaining the differing reactions is what role the person played in the evacuation process. For one main reason, that a child's version of a story is always likely to be different to an adult's. ...read more.

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