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Why did the British government decide to evacuate children from Britains major cities in the early years of the war?

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Introduction

Victoria Babatunde Why did the British government decide to evacuate children from Britain's major cities in the early years of the war? The British government decided to evacuate as many children as possible from major cities in World War Two for a multitude of reasons. They started a mass campaign to convince the public of the pro's of evacuation and managed on a weekend September 1939, to evacuate almost 1.5 million people. During the 1930's Britain had faced several failed policies which left Britain defenceless against Adolf Hitler. The League of Nations fell apart after the Manchurian and Abyssinian crises. The Prime Minister, Chamberlain, began to employ the policy of Appeasement after Hitler came into power. Britain had still not rearmed fully and Chamberlain knew that Hitler was a force to be reckoned with. He believed that if Britain gave into some of Hitler's demands in Eastern Europe, then he would be content and war could be avoided. No one wanted another war like the Great War. After these events, Hitler still continued with his ambitions for Europe and a stronger Germany. Britain was left vulnerable at a time when war was imminent. The government eventually decided that the evacuation of children among other groups (such as teachers and the disabled), was the best form of defence to protect Britain's future. ...read more.

Middle

It also resulted in parents knowing their children were safe. In theory, if parents knew their kids were safe, morale would be kept up. They wouldn't have to worry about if their children would be alright without them so this in turn meant they would work better and be more productive. This would have been crucial for getting women, who were usually housewives, to work doing things like farm labour or canaries working in ammunitions factories as canaries. Furthermore, by reducing the amount of people in the cities, the civil defence forces had less people to worry about. They didn't have to keep an eye out for children playing in bombed out houses as some often did. People were also concerned about the welfare of children due to stories of Nazi atrocities. Many magazines and newspapers had published stories hailing the Germans as inhuman and committing atrocities towards women and children in particular. Although many were fabricated stories, it helped fuel hatred for German soldiers. The public didn't want their children at risk so although evacuation was optional, millions of people felt inclined to send away loved ones. The British government needed to prove to people they did know what was best for the country after under-reacting for so long. ...read more.

Conclusion

This was a big motivation for wanting overseas evacuation. If children were sent abroad, then there were less people that needed to be fed in Britain. Also, Britain couldn't afford to take ships away from the war to protect ships carrying food (the convoy system). In 1944-45, a final wave of evacuation came about. People became fearful after attacks by the German V-1 and V-2 rockets. People were persuaded by the force of the attacks, that evacuation was necessary to protect their children. Again, the government used propaganda to encourage people that evacuation was the wisest course of action. Between September 1939 and 1945, the government felt the need to ensure the safety of children as the future of the country. By evacuating children, there were more people available to help with the war effort. Evacuation solved a stream of problems for the British government at the start of the war. It meant that they could increase food production as well as making more people available for work in crucial fields. Evacuation helped to keep up morale by ensuring that at least children were safe and also succeeded in reducing the amount of people that needed feeding (by transporting some overseas). Without evacuation in the Second World War, the number of casualties and deaths could have risen phenomenally and many could have just starved to death. The government successfully protected most of Britain's younger generation, and helped to gain a victory in the war. ...read more.

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