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

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Introduction

3) "Evacuation was a great success." Do you agree or disagree with this interpretation? Explain your answer using the sources and knowledge from your studies. Evacuation was what took place in order to prevent people being killed or injured due to the heavy bombing of major cities during the war. 1,474,000 schoolchildren, mothers and children, handicapped people, teachers and pregnant women were moved from areas prone to bombing to countryside areas by the government. 2 million people were also evacuated privately, staying with friends and relatives away from the cities in 1939. The first evacuation was brought into effect on 1st September, though this was done in vain due to the 'phoney war' and many people returned home. When the Blitz began in 1940, they were re-evacuated, and again in 1944 when the V1 and V2 rockets were sent over. Many different groups of people had different aims and ideas for evacuation. The government brought evacuation into effect with the aim of moving as many people and saving as many lives as possible. They used methods of propaganda to encourage parents to evacuate their children. ...read more.

Middle

The parents' aim for evacuation was to ensure their children's safety. Source D would have reassured parents as it shows the evacuees safe from harm. The hosts of the children all had different aims for evacuation; some wanted companionship, others wanted a slave. A lot of the host families did a fantastic job looking after the evacuees as shown in Source H, a poster advertising hosting to Scottish families: "Some kindly folk have been looking after children from the cities for over six months. Extra work? Yes, they've been a handful! But the foster parents know they've done the right thing." But many families did not look after their evacuees so well, and used them to do all their work. This is shown in the following source, in which a 13 year-old middle-class boy compares evacuation with his home life: "After school we were expected to sweep out Mr Benson's butcher's shop and scrub down the marble slabs... I had never been asked to help my father in his bank." There are many factors that made evacuation a success. Source G portrays evacuation as a positive thing. ...read more.

Conclusion

The quotes tell us evacuation is not working, because if it were completely successful, everyone would be sending their children away. The father refuses to send his son to strangers, and as many parents insisted on keeping their children in London, others must have felt the same way. Source C is a source from a teacher who was evacuated with children from her school: "All you could hear was the feet of the children and a kind of murmur, because the children were too afraid to talk." "...We hadn't the slightest idea where we were going." Which shows how some evacuations were not well organised. In conclusion, I think evacuation was generally a success. Many lives were saved because of it, and many evacuees had great experiences. Though, there were many failures of the system as well. During the war, 43000 people died in the bombing and many of them were children. However, many more children would have died had evacuation not taken place. Evacuation also had many successful after-effects. After seeing the state of some city children, it brought their living conditions to the attention of others. Following the war, a new Labour government was elected, who created a 'welfare state', which featured services for health and poverty. This helped make Britain a much more equal place. ...read more.

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