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Explain the differing reactions of the British public to the policy of evacuating children during the Second World War.

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Introduction

Explain the differing reactions of the British public to the policy of evacuating children during the Second World War. Sonia Kauser History 11SBE Miss Sharp Evacuation was a voluntary scheme formed during the Second World War. The British public responded to this scheme in many different ways which varied from positive reactions to negative reactions. Throughout my essay I will cover the differing reactions of the British public when evacuation was formed. This will consist of parents/family responses (including parents of evacuees and reception families) and children's reactions (including children that were either hosts or evacuees). Finally, I will also consider the importance of the social structure in Britain during the Second World War as this often influenced the differing reactions of the British public towards the policy of evacuation. Initially, when evacuation was first introduced, many young people responded to the scheme in many different ways. On the one hand, some evacuees and hosts were very excited and eager for the scheme to take place and when it did had a very fun and adventurous time. For instance, a young girl that was evacuated recalls becoming 'best friends' with her host. Hence, this shows that some hosts were very welcoming towards the children that were evacuated and that some evacuees had a very enjoyable experience and that on the whole some evacuees and hosts bonded together and both had very positive life changing experiences. ...read more.

Middle

Hence, this goes to show that the social structure had a major influence on the young peoples minds and that many children were disrespectful to each other because of the different social backgrounds they were from. Next, parents reactions towards the policy of evacuation changed over time because different events occurred having different effects on parents. When the evacuation scheme was first introduced many parents were in fear of the war as this was a different war which could have the possibility of bombings going on in the major cities. So therefore when the policy of evacuation first started many parent of evacuees supported the scheme for their children's safety and best interests, I know this because at the beginning of the war a mass number of children were evacuated which shows that parents reactions towards the scheme were that they supported the scheme. However, when the war started and the Phoney war took place later on, many parent started to undermine the policy of evacuation for no bombings were taking place back at home so many parents decided to bring their children back home for main reasons that they were missing them and that no major bombings were going on in the major cities so thought that nothing harmful would happen to their children. However, as the war continued and the blitz started to take place many parents once again had a change of mind because the bombing went form bad to worse and many young and old British citizens were killed. ...read more.

Conclusion

When children were being allocated to their designations, the government could not keep the social structure in mind because homes were limited so if any family was willing to take on an evacuee to look after then the scheme put random children in their homes. Therefore some hosts were in shock such as upper class families in shock to find evacuees from lower class families to be so unhygienic and filthy. For instance an old host remembers that 'they were so dirty...unhygienic...' Therefore, this shows that the reaction towards the policy of evacuation scheme differed throughout families due to the effect of the social structure In conclusion, I have found that there were many differing reactions towards the policy of evacuation. All those who experienced the scheme had different responses such as children that were either hosts or evacuees had positive fun times whereas other children had negative miserable times. Also many reactions were affected by the social structure such as the mixing of upper and lower class families and finally many reactions towards the policy of evacuating children changed over time for instance parents of evacuees that undermined the scheme during the Phoney war but realised how serious the scheme was when the Blitz took place. I personally think that evacuee's reactions were the most important responses as it was the evacuees who had to move away from home and especially them being children made it more difficult for them trying to live a different lifestyle, meeting new people and visiting new settings without their parents. ...read more.

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