• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why did evacuation take place in the early years of World War Two

Extracts from this document...


Why did the British Government decide to evacuate from British cities during the early years of WW2? During the first years of World War 2, two main evacuations took place in Britain, in order to remove innocents, such as children, to rural areas and out of target cities that were under threat from German bombing and the Luftwaffe's 'Blitzkrieg' tactics. There were many reasons why the Government chose to evacuate. These included, protection of civilians, fear of bombing and gas attacks and the aspiration to avoid another major conflict. Two different evacuations were held, one in September 1939 followed by the second in September 1940. Sir John Anderson the Home Secretary, was responsible for devising a plan to evacuate endangered civilians from major cities and important areas, such as London, Liverpool and Middelsbourough. London was a target due to Parliament and monarchy. Cities with ports such as Liverpool were vital for trade. This worried people, as they feared invasion from the sea so they were named target cities. Fear of attack was high so an evacuation plan began to come together. The country was separated into 3 evacuating regions. Around 3 million people were re-located to safer places. There were short term and long-term reasons for evacuation, including: Fear of bombing, fear of gas attack, propaganda, the battle of Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain. ...read more.


This fear was brought about by events from WW1. One event that stayed in people's memories was the Abyssinian Crisis of 1935. Mussolini used gas to a devastating effect, and news of the crisis spread fast and information was exploited by the media to the British public. This contributed to the ever-increasing state of fear in Britain; people were anxious about the possibilities of a gas attack. The fear of gas was a long-term reason, as people had returned from war telling horror stories of their experiences. Due to these fears the British government felt it would be appropriate to hand out gas masks to all citizens. Around 38 million gas masks were distributed following Munich. From 1937 onwards-local authorities began to advise the preparation for war. This involved putting air raid precautions into place. In addition the government produced a handbook. It was another form of warning; it illustrated how to use a gas mask. At this time large amounts of propaganda were being used. Rumours of war were everywhere in the media and newspapers. Posters reading messages like "wear your gas mask" were all over, and seeing posters of Hitler became a common occurrence, as the Government hoped to scare the public to move from the target cities to the suggested safer areas. ...read more.


It was the total bombardment and destruction of London. By May 1941 approximately 40,000 Britons had been killed. The government was worried and began to offer different countries to be evacuated too, on the condition they did not return. However this was abolished when German Submarines attacked a ship carrying passengers. In conclusion there were many different, short-term and long-term reasons why the British Government chose to evacuate. The fears stimulated from ww1 memories were an important long-term reason as it was always in people's minds and there would always be worry, concern and suspicion within people's minds after that war. This is why I believe it to be an important reason. If WW1 had not been so horrific people would have been less apprehensive. Also the fear of bombing and gas enthused from past events were also significant reasons. The propaganda used by the government was a short-term reason for evacuation. Despite believing that all aspects stated helped make the government decide to evacuate I believe that memories from WW1 were the most significant. This is because I believe this is what made people worry the most. Past memories were how people were able to predict or assume what may happen; therefore this was one the most important reasons to evacuate in my opinion. Sophie Robinson History Coursework 2004 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Britain 1905-1951 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Britain 1905-1951 essays

  1. The Evacuation of Dunkirk.

    In this source it says that Dunkirk was an important and popular feature like Waterloo. In this source it gives Dunkirk a lot of importance by comparing it to other memorable features of Britain. The source gives us a recap of Dunkirk to celebrate its anniversary exactly 40 years later, so it gives a popular version.

  2. How important were Haig's tactics in bringing an end to WW1?

    Haig saw Passchendaele as the last chance to win the war before the Americans came over. He believed that Passchendaele was the place where the war could be won even though he had not inspected the frontline. Haig's plan was almost the same to the Somme; it was the old bombardmentcavalryinfantry.

  1. Why did the British Government decide to evacuate children from Britain(TM)s major cities in ...

    This is an important cause because it links to the British government having no other alternatives to evacuation and the experience of Zeppelin attacks of World War One. The Garman planes would be much more suited to use as bombers than the Zeppelins.

  2. World war 1

    However, I believe that the American entry into the war played the biggest part of all because the vast supplies of manpower and material were now available for the Allies to draw upon. The stalemate had been going on for a year and a half and no one had won,

  1. Why did the British Government decide to evacuate children from Britains major cities in ...

    were evacuated in four days. Children were "labelled like pieces of luggage, separated from their parents and accompanied instead by a small army of guardians - 100,000 teachers". You can see just how complex this event was simply by looking at the amount of teachers taken.

  2. WW2 Evacuations

    It is also possible that the book was altered because of her own personal experiences which may show certain people in different ways. Another reason that makes the source less reliable would be that it was written thirty years after evacuation which would significantly affect the writers memories of what actually happened.

  1. In the early years of the Second World War large numbersof British people were ...

    The most distressing point about these sorts of incidents was that the government inadvertently allowed this to be a 'paedophiles dream' through not making regular checks on houses. Even more upsetting is the fact that some old evacuees find it very hard to talk of their traumatic experiences during the war because of their encounters in their foster homes.

  2. The Evacuation from Dunkirk in World War 2 was a great Disaster for Britain. ...

    There wasn?t anyone who wasn?t willing to give up their life. There was a sense of patriotism and both boys and men were involved. It was created as an example of propaganda. Its purpose was to make men come away from the war as strong soldiers who were proud of

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work