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Was Evacuation a success?

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There are many factors, which contribute to whether or not evacuation was a success. One major factor is the number of lives that were saved due to evacuation. We now know that if evacuation had not taken place, a lot more people would have been killed in the Blitz (only were actually killed). However, we also know that there were cases of abuse ('I had bruises from my neck right down to my ankles on both sides and on my left hip all my clothes were stuck to my hip where it was bleeding' John Abbot) and children being used for slave labor etc because the host families were not checked, and this is obviously a major failure. Evacuation was intended to save lives, nothing else. Nevertheless, there was a lot more to evacuation than intended. For example, the government did not take into account the social impact evacuation would have, or the possibility of long-term trauma for some children. The sources show different experiences and interpretations of evacuation. Source I is an interview in 1940 by the observer between them and a man who is reluctant to let his child be evacuated. He is reluctant to let his son go because he would be sent to the West Country and they had a food shortage there before the war. The observer replies "Only in the large towns and mining centers, surely, not in villages?" and he responds, "Well what if I got killed? Who'd look after him? There are plenty of people here, my family and friends." ...read more.


Source C in an extract from a novel called Carrie's War written in 1973 by Nina Bowden. This source contains the dialogue between a single women and two evacuated children that she has fostered. Before looking into the meanings of this source I have to show its motive. As it is a novel this source's main purpose is to sell copies and to entertain its readers, at first glace giving the impression that it is not reliable. However, before writing the novel the author, Nina Bowden, should have decided to research the topic of evacuation to make sure that what she was to write would be an accurate depiction of what happened during this time period. In my opinion this means that this source is reliable and even because of the fact that it was written 32 years after evacuation, the research undertaken by the author would still make for a valid book to be produced. The women who has fostered the children in the novel is a "Miss", a single women, meaning that she would have no experience of caring for children and wouldn't be able to understand them as fully as a foster mother who already had children. This shows that many evacuees and foster parents were mismatched and from my own studies this was often the case as rich families fostered children from poor families. This is shown in the source where it is discovered that the evacuees were possibly too poor to have slippers and the foster parent was rich enough to have carpet on the stairs. ...read more.


So in conclusion to source E, I have decided that it was reliable as it was a person's own view on the events and that this source shows no evidence of evacuation being successful. Source E highlights many failings by the government and portrays evacuation as being unsuccessful. In conclusion, having considered all five sources, one in itself being inconclusive (source A), two showing that evacuation was successful (sources C and D) and two showing that it was a failure (sources B and E), I have now concluded that evacuation was a great success. Despite evidence to suggest otherwise, (such as the government not doing enough to convince people of evacuation's importance, disorganization and evacuee/foster parent mismatching) by using my own knowledge my feelings are that evacuation was a success in Britain in World War 2. This is due to reasons that I discovered from my own research, the main one being the fact that even if only a small number of lives were saved it would still make it successful. For those children who were evacuated, it gave them a safe haven away from the bombing; a better quality of life and safe guarded their future. Another reason why evacuation was successful was that it allowed the parents to give their time to the war effort and I'm sure, it was the start of friendships that would last a lifetime as these refugee children from the cities forged relationships with their new found foster parents. As a result, although there is evidence to argue differently, overall I feel that yes, evacuation was a great success! ...read more.

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