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"Evacuation was a great success" Do you agree or disagree with this interpretation?

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Introduction

"Evacuation was a great success" Do you agree or disagree with this interpretation? Before discussing how successful evacuation was it must first be asked, how is success measured? Evacuation may have succeeded for some, but failed for others. Some groups of society may have benefited from it, others may have become worse off because of it. In some ways evacuation was a great success. The government introduced evacuation in 1939 to save people's lives and this was achieved; but did the end justify the means? Can the minor successes of evacuation be said to be just by-products of the main success? Primarily, evacuation was successful in its main goal; it saved lives. Throughout the blitz sixty thousand people were killed and eighty seven thousand people were seriously injured. The may sound a lot, but these figures are relatively small compared to estimates before the war. Because of this evacuation was definitely a great success, but did this success justify other failings? The evacuation of millions of children from towns and cities in Britain highlighted the gap that existed in the country between the rich and poor. This had both positive and negative connotations. Firstly, the government took steps to make social improvements to try to lessen this gap. The government introduced things like free school meals and milk in order to improve living conditions in poorer areas of the country. ...read more.

Middle

This highlights the poor planning on the government's parts and the lack of faith that many parents had in evacuation. However, this could be misleading, as this was said during an interview, and interviewers tend to have their own agendas and ask leading questions to try to get the answers they want. But in some cases the poor treatment was not because the host could not, but abused the children physically, sexually or, in some cases, as slave labourers. Whether or not evacuation can be said to be a success from this is purely subjective. A child sent to a host who treated them well would judge evacuation to be a success, whereas a child sent to a host who treated them poorly would judge evacuation to be a failure. Evacuation had a profound psychological effect upon the evacuees. At the start of the war, people's opinions on evacuation varied. Some evacuees had never been away from home before so seen this as a great adventure. Others were terrified of being sent away from their families. Source A shows evacuees walking to the station; all are smiling and waving to the camera, suggesting that moral is high. However, photographs are selective, as it is not clear why it was taken; it could been for a newspaper, government propaganda or simply someone taking a nice picture. Also, it was taken at the start of the war, before the evacuees had reached their hosts or experienced what life there would really be like. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is a teacher talking, so not even the people organising the evacuation knew where they were going. Further lack of planning was shown when the evacuees arrived. Many evacuees were sent to the wrong place; and the villages they were sent to were not expecting them. Source D, a government poster asking for more foster families highlights the government's failings; the government did not have enough host families at the start of evacuation. Even when the evacuees were sent to the correct place it had still been poorly planned. Many children did not have basic provisions, such as shoes or medical care. The spread of many infectious conditions, such as head lice, that could easily have been avoided if the government would have took steps to check for such infections before sending the evacuees to avoid the infections spreading. Also, many evacuees found that they had a lack of recreational activities in the countryside, this lead to an increase in crime in the countryside; this was due to boredom, coupled with the rich-poor gap. From this, evacuation was a failure as there were many failures on the part of the government when planning evacuation both before and after the war started. In conclusion, it is hard to evaluate success, and it was mainly subjective; there were many success and failures, but all in all, evacuation as a success as it achieved what it set out to and despite some failures it saved lives, which is what it set out to achieve. ...read more.

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