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Evacuation was a great success - do you agree or disagree.

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On 3rd September 1939, World War II was declared. The British Government was all too aware that the international warfare that was to follow would be disastrously horrific, threatening the lives of thousands of civilians. It was quite obvious that the main targets would be the highly populated areas, and the government felt it was absolutely necessary in order to keep civilian casualties and fatalities to a bare minimum. The first round of this life-saving process commenced on 1st September 1939, and within the first month of war, a staggering 3,500,000 people were moved. 1.4 million of which were relocated within the first four days of September. It is somewhat self-evident, then, that the logistics of such an operation would be nightmarishly chaotic, and millions of evacuees were heroically moved. Despite this, there were many problems with evacuation. Social problems arose due to social mis-matching, the incompetence of billeting officers and the supposed 'Phoney War'. Organisational problems, along with the infamous negative experience stories, contribute to the notion of failure of evacuation. However, the very fact that it saved the lives of millions of people shows a slight success. The significant word there is people. We are all people, and it our duty bound to protect and guard each other's lives, but there are other factors involved as the subject is not 'black and white'. Evidence and sources of information have varied greatly, over the years, as to the success or failure of evacuation. This includes the sources I am analysing that will follow. This variation of evidence is because success or failure of such an event that involves people is reliant upon personal experiences of evacuees and hosts. Obviously, experiences and feelings felt during evacuation differed vastly. It is because of this that there is such a wide range of evidence available. Evacuation was a huge process. It was inevitable that organisational difficulties were going to occur. ...read more.


Source D was issued by the government during World War II. It is a photograph that portrays a mood of happiness and content among the children as they bath together. A primary source, it immediately indicates success. Its obvious intention is to encourage further evacuation, but it is also showing prospective hosts just how angelic the darling little evacuees are. But it is indeed because of this that this source can be considered somewhat unreliable. In fact, the only positive aspect of reliability in this case is the fact that it's a photograph, and photographs do not lie. However, the people in them do. There is the whole concept of 'staging' to consider, and the idea that this day within their experience was one that was unusually happy due to a special treat. Additionally, the source is government propaganda. Again, if the government felt it was necessary to publish such propaganda that is aimed at so many different groups of people, there has to be an indication of failure. This source highlights success for these particular evacuees, and that they are genuinely happy in their surroundings. The negative technicality, though, is that the government had to use one of the very few available 'happy scene' examples to show the inner-city public just what it is like. Quite frankly, the British Government pursued the blinding of the public, telling an almost blatant lie. Primarily, Source D indicates success, but due to unforeseen details indicates an overall failure of evacuation. Source E demonstrates experiences from both the evacuee's and the host's point of view, both of which seem to quite unpleasant. The evacuated children are of an extremely poor background and have been evacuated along with their mother. The children are obviously used to urinating in the walls in their own abode that can only too easily be described as 'humble'. Despite our reaction of disgust, this is all they knew and so being told off about something they believed to be perfectly normal and something they had probably done all their lives must be quite devastating. ...read more.


Who'd look after him?'. Quite obviously, this is an extremely negative response to evacuation. 'I'm not letting him go. They can't be looked after where they're sending them.' 'They've nothing there: they were starving there before the war.; So, there we have it: the Phoney War, the negative response, returning evacuees, experiences, billeting officers and social mis-matching were all huge failure of evacuation. The only minor success was the organisation due to pre-evacuation practise. However, I believe that there is nothing more important and valuable than life and it is our duty as the human race to create and perpetuate life. It is because of this that some could proclaim evacuation as a success. The simple fact that evacuation save lives, despite any inter-evacuational problems, is additional to the fact that some good could have arisen from social mis-matching. 'Rough' and uncultured children (through no fault of their own) may have indeed gained social abilities and could have been refined as people. They could have accepted the better food offered and become healthier. They might have actually enjoyed their time at their foster parent's homes. And finally, it prolonged life. But, these are only small possibilities that were very rare to actually occur. The amount of positive evidence towards evacuation is sparse to say the least and the negatives are wholly atrocious in their content, and if they aren't, they are reliable failures. Evacuation was intended to save the lives of children in areas of high risk areas. Indeed it did do that, but how many lives were saved we do not know, nor are we aware of the figures of how many people had what sort of experience. It is because of this that I believe evacuation was a success in parts such as in the organisational aspect, but based on the sources (A to I) evacuation on the whole was a process full of problems, difficulties and dilemmas. I conclude that, based on my own knowledge and the previously analysed sources, evacuation was indeed a failure. THE END. 1 Ashley M. Dickson, Year 10 Coursework, GCSE History. ...read more.

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