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Explain the differing reactions of people in Britain to the policy of evacuating children in World War II:

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Explain the differing reactions of people in Britain to the policy of evacuating children in World War II: The trepidation of aerial bombing gripped Britain as a nation, as uncensored images of Hitler's Condor Legion reduced the Basque's holy city of Guernica to rubble .The world recognized Hitler fascist regime, and acknowledged Hitler's supreme air power and its ability to obliterate cities. This terrified the British public, and alarmed the government; as the First World War experience with the air Zeppelin, still left its stigma on British hearts. The government had to devise a plan to protect its future generation and army. They called this plan 'operation pied piper' ironically named after the rather menacing German folktale. This was the biggest and most concentrated mass movement of people in Britain's History. In the first four days of this regime 'in September 1939, nearly 3,000,000 people were transported from towns and cities in danger from enemy bombers to places of safety in the countryside'. By any measure it was an astonishing event, a logistical nightmare of co-ordination and control .Lord Balfour mentioned: 'unremitting bombardment of a kind that no other city has ever had to endure,' it was even predicted that in London alone that civilian causalities would amount to four million alone. ...read more.


The humiliating and daunting experiences of the 'slave auction' left children feeling empty and dehumanised 'nobody wanted to be picked last,' these children were usually poor children who appeared unclean and scruffy. Firstly if we look at this piece, written by the daily mirror a picture caption: 'aren't they happy,' from hindsight we can acknowledge, how the daily mirror has used government propaganda to fa´┐Żade the pessimistic side of evacuees ,with illustrations of children playing on beaches. In contrast to this image we can look at this piece of evidence an account from an evacuee Terri McNeil: 'who was locked up in a birdcage and left with a chunk of bread and a bowl of water,' here we can distinguish the juxtaposition between a government biased view and a first hand witness experience, although only twelve percent of evacuees say that they suffered some sort of mental, physical or sexual abuse, we must note that, sixty years on the experience of evacuation still comes back to haunt people. However, this gave children from inner city slums, the opportunity to experience a life of idyllic atmosphere. People from different classes clashed, and gave the government and wealthier people a chance to acknowledge the huge gap between the poor and the rich, and idealise with their predicament. ...read more.


I ended up sharing the honeymoon suite which had a private bathroom'. Many described the evacuation as a 'typical British wartime shamble.' Many people did not except evacuees even though it was compulsory, if we look at Lady Davy reason for not taking evacuees:' on medical grounds it is not good for her to have ten evacuees in a house with five bedrooms and two living rooms. Because of her public duties, Lady Davy requires more than just her bedroom,' this was the attitude of a lot of wealthy people. Billeting officers grew very exhausted and angry, because finding a host for the evacuee grew exasperating, due to social class and attitudes of host family because of status. In all, my overall impression to the attitudes of evacuation is that; social class played a more dominant role in identifying human behaviour towards those of a lesser class, and on a positive note helped the government and those more fortunate to understand peoples plight. In this,some aspects of evacuation did baffle me, the mistreatment of host families towards evacuees-perhaps this was their way of getting back at the government-Most of the images displayed by the government were biased. Some could argue that the wealthier acted preposterously towards the regime than others of a lesser classer. Who's to dispute the argument? But reality is more complicated than what some would conclude. ...read more.

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