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'Evacuation was a great success.' Do you agree or disagree with this interpretation? Explain your answer using the sources and knowledge from you own studies.

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Introduction

'Evacuation was a great success.' Do you agree or disagree with this interpretation? Explain your answer using the sources and knowledge from you own studies. Throughout Britain in September 1939 scenes of mass evacuation took place, women and children from major cities were transported then relocated in the rural countryside. Evacuation was a precaution taken by the government to reduce the casualties from heavy bombing; targeted at large civilian places. It was known as Operation 'Pied Piper' whose principal aim was to keep children safe from the dangers of the Second World War. Evacuation was a success in that respect, as many children were sent to an environment which reduced the risk of bombing compared to staying at home. However, this was only one of the main aims of evacuation. This essay is to assess whether or not the aims of evacuation were accomplished and the benefits and down-sides that followed. Evacuation saved millions of lives in London alone. Conservative estimates put civilian casualties in London at 4 million, and the government ordered hospitals to prepare for the worst and stockpile coffins. It was against this backdrop that mass evacuation took place. Nevertheless, evacuation did save many lives across Britain and for that reason it must have been a great success. Yet, there were many errors that disrupted evacuation such as the misconceptions about evacuees as told in source F. ...read more.

Middle

This is shown by source D, a photograph issued by the government to show evacuation was currently doing well. In September 1939, 1.5 million children were evacuated. Homesickness and the realisation that the war had not begun saw many children drift back to their homes in the cities towards the end of 1939; this period was known as the Phoney War. When German bombers started blitzing Britain's cities in 1940 a second evacuation took place, though not on the scale of the one in 1939. A few thousand children were also sent overseas to commonwealth countries such as Australia and South Africa. This shows that the evacuation process also had its downsides - some evacuees got homesick, many country families were shocked in how city slum people lived, others were resented as a burden by their foster families. During the evacuation, many children suffered the trauma of separation and isolation and were terrified by the prospect of being removed from their parents. For the most part, mothers were not evacuated with their children, unless they were pregnant. Instead, over 100,000 teachers escorted the children out of the cities. It was a time of worry and anxiety for parents. For children there were emotions ranging from fear and excitement to uncertainty, while some young evacuees struggled to understand why many of their mothers stood by crying. It was only a few days in till the evacuees were hit with homesickness. ...read more.

Conclusion

This tells us that though 20,000 people had volunteered, others were very reluctant to take evacuees in. Overall, it is difficult to conclude whether evacuation was a success or a failure. People have various opinions based on their own experiences; therefore you can not really draw a firm conclusion from that. Many evacuees had great experiences though it depended on the attitudes of the specific people involved. However, there were many failures of the system as well. During the war, 43,000 people died in the bombing and many of them were children. Still, many more children would have died had evacuation not taken place. The government had little control over evacuation. In source C, a recollection of a teacher, "We hadn't the slightest idea where we were going." shows how some evacuations were not well organised. Evacuation also had many successful long term 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. In my own personal opinion, every life that was saved due to evacuation means that it was success. Thus, I agree with the statement taking into account how it affected people's lives. Many aims of evacuation were fulfilled; both short and long term events ameliorated Britain after the War. Some people did not enjoy evacuation, but without it they might not have lived to tell us that. ?? ?? ?? ?? Gary Chew ...read more.

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