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The Home Front: Evacuation

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Two weeks before war broke out, the Government of Great Britain were poised to start evacuating from major industrial cities. This was the process by which the blind, crippled or otherwise disabled and children up to the age of 14 were re-housed outside of their residential area. Alongside them were teachers from the schools that they had previously attended, who went along to the nearest school in the selected town where the children were evacuated to. This precaution reflected on the statistics that the Government had compiled- they estimated over 1,000,000 would die due to bombing; as they thought that the Germans would use chemical warfare, rather than merely dropping bombs on the cities. To safeguard the future of our country, and minimize civilian deaths, children and non-essential workers were moved out of the cities. Children were initially excited by the prospect of leaving home and family; as the Government had persisted in telling everyone that the war 'would be over by Christmas'. When it became rapidly more apparent that this was not the case, kids began to get restless and many fled from their country homes in an effort to return to the cities. Previously to any bombing raids, however, during the phony war, many parents decided that the Government were paranoid, and sent for their children to be returned home. This put a great strain on the Government, as they had many children to evacuate yet, and if the first wave of evacuees came back, and then wanted to go again when the bombing started, it would cause a lot of extra work. ...read more.


more beneficial to their children to have a quiet, uninterrupted than for them to be wandering the streets alone without anyone looking out for them. The scheme was welcomed by less fortunate people living in the inner-cities; as it was completely free- all they had to do was fill out an application form and get their child to the train station on time; and they were 'safe'. The safety of their child weighs over whether or not they trust the Government. They could easily and cheaply send away their children for the duration of the war, in what would not only be a safe experience for them, but also, for many children, an eye-opening one. People living in inner-cities (the most bombed places) were especially embracing of the scheme- "This is like heaven compared to where I come from!" commented one Mother from Liverpool. Richer families could afford the luxury of sending their children away to a neutral country, like Canada. Canada was the most popular choice amongst the neutral countries, as it was the closest, and least likely to be bombed. This caused some envy amongst the poorer community, as a lot of prolific members of Parliament chose to send their children away to Canada instead of using their own scheme. This again made people decide against using the Government scheme: for some there were just too many question marks around it for it to work. ...read more.


That is why I think the Government put an age 'cap' on funded evacuation; not because they didn't want older people going, but because it would have caused more problems with children who actually have the intelligence and diligence to escape successfully should they want to: it honestly wasn't worth the trouble to the Government. The environment somewhat forced upon the city children was not quite the eye-opening 'experience' some had labelled it. Many children probably retreated to their natural defensive instinct when faced with 'scaring' circumstances; which might have been to cause trouble as a form of self-gratification. Whatever the case, it is certain that some children were very happy in their new lives, and some were not happy. So then, it seems that there was a divided opinion on whether or not the Government scheme was a success or not: some liked it, justifiably, and some did not, also justifiably. The conclusions that I can draw from this are that people think in different ways: looking at the recent history, whilst to me Mr. Bin Laden is a terrorist, to some members of the Afghan community, he is a freedom fighter and an icon. One mans terrorist is another's freedom fighter, and one persons well-thought out and implemented scheme to save children is another persons stairway to worry and paranoia. ?? ?? ?? ?? History Coursework SEG Syllabus B CSU 4: The second World War 1939-45: EVACUATION Struan McRae Spencer 11PM ...read more.

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