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Why did the British Government decide to Evacuate children from Britain's major Cities in the early years of the 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 war? The evacuation of Britain's cities at the start of World War Two was the largest movement of people in Britain's history. In the first four days of September 1939, nearly 3,000,000 people were transported from towns and cities. The Government's aim was to reduce the risk of injuries and death from the main target areas such as London, Manchester, Bristol, Portsmouth and many other cities. The danger came from German bomber attacks over Britain. The first wave of evacuation in Britain took place on September 1st 1939. Britain evacuated children from the major cities because of long term, short term and spark causes leading up to 1st September 1939. It was necessary to evacuate children as a priority because they were considered the country's future, as were pregnant women. It was necessary to spread the population out towards the countryside so that the people living there could do their part in the war; by looking after evacuees. The fear of bombing in the large cities was very high, due to past events such as Guernica, where bombing took place in 1937 during the Spanish civil war. Many parents wanted their children to move to safe areas until the threat of bombing had subsided. ...read more.

Middle

Evacuation in Britain may have occurred without the League of Nations but it was a catalyst that sped up the process. Britain and France were two major targets for Hitler, who were the dominant members of the League of Nations from when it started, to when it finished in 1945. A spark cause of Evacuation could have been when officials in Whitehall made alarmist predictions that the declaration of war with Germany would be followed immediately by the devastation of Cities. Such predictions would have been supported by the Nazi's involvement in the Spanish civil war. Britain was also an island, and the invention of planes that could drop bombs meant that Britain was no longer protected by water. And as Britain was against Germany they would have to prepare. This included epidemics, the disruption of food supplies and panic among the civilian population. In 1936 at a school in Madrid 70 children were killed and civil servants wondered what the effect on public moral if a similar event happened in Britain. Britain may have the advantage of less War casualties if the main target areas were evacuated of children. Britain was soon divided into evacuation areas, reception areas and neutral areas. London was the largest city in Britain. ...read more.

Conclusion

We now know that their predictions were correct and at the time were taken very seriously, as many knew that Britain was vulnerable. If Cities were bombed then it would be necessary to ensure the safety of the children; as they were the countries future. I believe that the most important spark cause of the second wave of evacuation in Britain was the German's change in tactics after 'operation sealion'. The German air force the 'Luftwaffe' was ordered to bomb Britain's vital cities, beginning with London. Hitler was trying to break British moral, and was responding to the British bomb attacks on Berlin. It was necessary that the Major cities were to be evacuated again, as this time the phoney war was over and there was a real threat of the Germans succeeding. The Blitz had begun. These are the main reasons why I believe Britain had to be evacuated twice throughout the early stages of the war. The first evacuation was certainly due to fear of invasion and other possibilities of attacks by the Nazi's, and the second wave was due to actual attacks after the phoney war. Germany had had shown to be a major threat that kept Britain in constant fear. If children were killed as a result of war then there would be little future for any country. ...read more.

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