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Why did the British Government decide to evacuate children from Britain's major cities at the start of the Second World War?

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Introduction

Assignment: Model AI: Britain in the Second World War 1. Why did the British Government decide to evacuate children from Britain's major cities at the start of the Second World War? 1. Evacuation was introduced at the start of the Second World War so that young children were safe from cities like London and Birmingham that were considered to be in danger of being bombed by the Nazis. In the lead up to world war two, governments throughout Europe had been terrified of bombing. The many deaths of innocent civilians at Guernica in Spain during the Spanish civil war had been the proof that bombing was the new horror of warfare. With this in mind, the British government introduced evacuation. Newborn children to fifteen year olds were evacuated. They were sent with their 'Minders' - either mothers or teachers - to what were considered safe areas in the North of Britain and in countryside villages that would be free from Nazi bombing In the first few weeks of the start of the Second World War (September 3rd 1939), nearly two million children were evacuated by train and bus. The government, which controlled all aspects of the media, wanted to give the public the impression that evacuation was popular among those affected and put out propaganda pictures in newspapers on posters and film in the cinemas before movies to raise Britain's morals. ...read more.

Middle

In source B the photo could have been taken by either a newspaper photographer or a government official. Both of these had their own agenda or opinion. The newspaper photographer might have taken the photo in such a way as to fit the story his newspaper was going to print. A government official would want it for propaganda. In both cases you would only see what they wanted you to see. I think it unlikely that the photographer did take the photo for private purposes. The photo was however taken during the event and does have some use as a source but not to the degree of source C. Source C is also a primary source but I think more reliable. It is an extract from a teacher remembering her own experiences. She is articulate and descriptive; you get a feeling of the uncertainty and fears that surrounded the event, "All you could hear was the feet of the children and a kind of murmur, because the children were too afraid to talk." The interview with the teacher took place in 1988 long after the war had finished, there is no reason for the teacher to slant her memories for propaganda purposes or to sell newspapers, she is a neutral party. ...read more.

Conclusion

Once the children reached the reception areas they were sent to the village hall or school to be selected by their foster parents. Some children only found as place to stay after being walked from door to door. Some foster families were surprised to see that they had fostered some ill-mannered ragged children who wet the bed at night. Brothers and sisters were split up. After the evacuation some children and parents were never re-united. Source D is a poster, which is trying to achieve more people being foster parents. The title is "Thank you Foster Parents.... we want more like you." The poster shows two perfect looking and well-dressed children. This poster was ut up in 1940; in aid of not enough people are giving children foster home in Scotland. Source E is an interview in 1988 with a mother from a "Host Family" shows that evacuation was not easy or enjoyable; in this case the foster family was the victim. "The children went round the house urinating on the walls. Although we had two toilets they never used them. Although we told the children and their mother off about this filthy habit, they took no notice and our house stank to high heaven." The worst experience for many children, during the war was being evacuated away from their family and alone in a new environment with different people. 1,305 words ...read more.

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