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Why did the British Government decide to evacuate children from Britain's major cities in the early years of the Second World War?

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Introduction

Why did the British Government decide to evacuate children from Britain's major cities in the early years of the Second World War? The British Government decided to evacuate because they didn't want to endanger the lives of children who were at risk from bombing. They were taken from busy cities and towns such as London and Birmingham, and moved to quieter countryside retreats. They were moved from the larger cities and towns because they were more likely to be attacked in them because of the industries e.g. factories and docks. Evacuation plans had been in preparation well before the outbreak of war. Mass evacuation took place on August 31st 1939, where 827,000 children and 535,000 pregnant mothers were evacuated from the cities and towns to the country. ...read more.

Middle

Another reason for evacuating children was to keep up British Morale. This meant that if the children were happy, and the parents knew they were safe, the country might have been stronger in the face of battle. Because Britain had already suffered air attacks from zeppelins in the First World War in Scarborough, and other coastal cities and towns, air attacks were expected again this time. During the first few months of the war, very little happened on the Home Front. The expected immediate widespread bombing of British cities and industrial areas never took place. This period became known as the 'phoney war'. It was during this time that many of the evacuees started to drift back home, only to be evacuated once against a few months later. ...read more.

Conclusion

Local authorities in reception areas however, had compulsory powers to allocate evacuees to billets. Because Britain didn't know that the first year or so of the Second World War was going to be "phoney", Blitzkrieg (Lightning War) was hugely overestimated. Britain wasn't expecting quick attacks using bombers (Luftwaffe) and paratroopers. Blitzkrieg was very significant to Germany's early triumph because it made them get the head start against Britain by having lots of quick and easy successes, such as capturing southern cities and towns. During this time, British morale would probably be deteriorating, because they might of thought that their children were in danger, but it was Churchill who kept morale up by stating that the evacuation of Dunkirk was a success and by sporting " bulldog spirit". Bradley Reynolds 11P1 09/05/2007 ...read more.

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