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Why did the British Government Decide To Evacuate Children from Britain's Major Cities at the start of WW2?

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Jaimes Charles History coursework - Evacuation Why did the British Government Decide To Evacuate Children from Britain's Major Cities at the start of WW2? I n this my first piece of coursework on the British homefront I will be answering why the British Government evacuated children in the early years of WW2. The definition of evacuation for the government was to send out all the people who weren't going to be any help to the war. These included people like pregnant women, teachers to look after and educate the children, the old and disabled and schoolchildren. The government wanted to keep the children alive especially because they where needed to grow up to be soldiers and people of the next generation, factory workers and people to run society after the war. Although their where many reasons why the children were evacuated, the main reason I believe was the fears of the government about what would happen during the war. The government had a very intense fear of gas bomb attacks because most of them lived through WW1 and had experienced the gassing in the trenches (remembering WW1) ...read more.


The British Government had decided to organise an evacuation scheme in which Sir John Anderson was put in charge. He decided to split the country into three groups. The first was people who lived in Urban districts. These included large cities like London and ports like Liverpool. The Germans bombed Liverpool because it was the country's main port. The country's economy had changed by then. The country could no longer grow enough food to support its own people. Food had to be imported from places like America and therefore, like the First World War, they wanted to bomb the country into submission. People would have to be evacuated from these industrial areas because they were expected to be very heavily bombed. Also the Air ministry predicted that in London in the first 60 days of the war there would be 60,000 dead. These figures probably helped to influence the mass evacuation. The next area was neutral. People wouldn't have to be evacuated from these areas because they weren't considered to be dangerous but people wouldn't be evacuated to these areas either because they weren't considered to be quite safe. ...read more.


In the First World War, they didn't have very good planes. Now, however the Germans had the most powerful air fleet in the world, The Luftwaffe. Instead of just being able to bomb only the East Coast now they could bomb anywhere in Britain. By Christmas 1939, almost one million of the evacuees had started to return home. This was due to the phoney war. No bombing had taken place for nine months. People wanted to be evacuated again however when the bombing started in the summer of 1940. Many of the people who returned however weren't evacuated again. The second evacuation wasn't nearly as well organised as the first one. This was simply because it hadn't been planned for as long. The long term plans for evacuation began in the 1920's (the Imperial defence committee under John Anderson) Since evacuation happened there have been many critics of it. People have asked 'why?' and 'wouldn't it have been better for families to stick together?' Some people obviously had bad experiences but with a scheme so large, this is only to be expected. I have concluded that it may not have been a perfect system but it still saved millions of lives, which was its main aim. It also helped avoid mass panic and demoralisation. ...read more.

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