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Source based work on the evacuation.

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Introduction

Charlotte Wilkinson History Coursework Q1. Source B is a photograph taken in September 1939. It shows evacuees walking to the station in London. Looking at the picture, I can see the evacuees walking in line, all carrying their luggage with teachers walking beside them and parents in tow. From looking at the picture it is evidently clear that there are certain aspects to be learnt from it. This picture will have been taken almost as soon as war was declared, when around 1.5 million people were evacuated. The children are walking along a typical looking city street with terraced houses either side of them. Amidst the smiling faces there is a sense of anticipation and optimistic feeling. Evacuation, in such an early time would have been considered extremely beneficial as it would have freed up Mothers to help the war effort, enabled children to see life outside the confinement of the city and also allowed children to stay with generally 'better off' families. This source would be useful to a historian studying evidence about the start of the children's evacuation journey, because of the time it was taken, and also being a primary source. ...read more.

Middle

The novel states that there was not a speck of dust anywhere, and so it suggests that the children were not used to such spotless surroundings. The hosts will have seemed more particular to cleanliness to the children and this may have seemed peculiar to them. In the war, evacuees were not used to rural life and there were poor children moving to wealthier homes. There was a clash between city and country values and people outside the cities, in the countryside learnt how bad the conditions were which encouraged them to evacuate children. However, some people did not want evacuees in their houses. The book was partly based on the author's own childhood experiences as an evacuee. With the author being an evacuee herself, then the information will be reliable. If the author had have had no evacuation experience then there would not have been as much reliable information to be gained from it, as she would have been only gathering her information from other sources. Also, we have to take in to account that this source may be bias. We do not have the point of view from the family, and the story is only based on a typical child's evacuation journey, and so does not represent all experiences. ...read more.

Conclusion

It also pronounces evacuation a huge success and appeals for more people to join in, as they would then be a service for the nation and at the same time, the saver of a child's life. Other people may disagree with the viewpoint that evacuation was a huge success as some evacuees were not used to rural life, for most there was a clash between city and country values as many of the children were from poor families in the inner cities finding themselves in much wealthier homes having to cope with different standards of behaviour. Evacuation also separated children from their families. Some evacuees were badly treated or even exploited. Not everyone wanted evacuees in their homes. There was evidence that people tried to avoid taking evacuees; people from 'better off' families were accused of 'shirking their responsibilities.' There being no air raids during the 'Phoney War' and many evacuees returned home, but they had to be evacuated back when the Blitz started again in 1944. For many young evacuees, forced to live for years in some cases with strange people and in unfamiliar places, it was often a traumatic displacement. The policy may have saved many children, but it was later looked on as excessive and was reversed as the war progressed. ...read more.

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