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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

PARDEEP CHOHAN 10:03 HISTORY COURSEWORK 1st DRAFT Why did the British government decide to evacuate children from Britain's major cities in the early years of the Second World War? The evacuation of children during the Second World War (1939-1941) was named operation 'Pied-Piper', Masses of children were moved from urban areas to the rural countryside. The British government took measures of evacuation in the early years of the Second World War for many different reasons. The reasons can be split up into two sections. One of the sections is 'phase one' of the evacuation process and the other is 'phase two'. Phase one of the evacuation process began on the 31st of august, three days before war was formally declared. This shows that the war had been 'seen' to be coming. Evacuating millions of children was no easy task, much planning and thinking needed to be done in order to make it successful. Plans for evacuation had been going on since the Munich crisis (1938) when Britain had been on the brink of war with Germany. About one and a half million children (in the first few days of evacuation) were sent from cities to countryside homes where they were believed to be safe. Towards the end of 1938 no German military action or bombing had taken place, people began to see it as the 'phoney' war, parents felt it unnecessary for their children to be sent away ...read more.

Middle

Also linked to morale was the fact that if children were not evacuated and heavy losses were incurred then morale would be heavily damaged. This would be fatal as morale is very important during war times and without it the war could be lost. The children were seen as the 'future' generation, protecting them was the priority; they would continue the generations and keep the country 'alive'. The issue of morale as a process of evacuation is an important point as it has proven again and again to be very advantageous during war times. Another major reason for this huge operation of evacuation from the city to countryside was the fact that Britain was in anticipation of heavy aerial military bombardment. The effect of German air warfare and the Luftwaffe had been felt in the Spanish civil war at the 'Battle of Guernica' (1937), it had shown western Europe the terrible consequences of aerial bombardment and the damage and destruction which are caused by it. Britain was wary of what might happen if a full on German offensive took place; therefore the British government felt it better for innocent children to be moved out of the target areas and into the safe countryside. Also throughout the 1930's images of the devastation in Guernica were being shown in cinemas all across Britain, people back at home could actually see what was happening in Spain and they realised this could happen to them too. ...read more.

Conclusion

If Aerial bombardment had not developed so incredibly than evacuation may not have been as necessary, as the Luftwaffe would not have attacked cities and tried to target civilian children. The advancements were huge for such a huge period; they went from 'zeppelins' (used for spying and some bombing during world war one) to new more advanced planes which could fly longer distances with greater loads therefore causing more damage and destruction and providing a much greater risk to civilian life in rural city areas such as London. Also in my opinion the second most import reason for evacuation was the fact that the children needed to remain safe, this is also a very important point as it ties in with many others. If the children were safe morale would be high, also parents wouldn't worry about the children and so would concentrate more on the war effort. Also, the children were he future o Britain and so needed protecting. The safety of the children is a very important reason for evacuation; it links up with most of the other reasons. Many of the other reasons are also important for example more personal aims of the British government that would be more advantageous to them and would make them 'look' good and as if they were doing something. On the whole the actual process of Evacuation, and the moving of children from the countryside to the city was quite successful and the many reasons all interlink to provide factors for the evacuation of children during world war two. ...read more.

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