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

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History Coursework Evacuation Why did the British Government decide to evacuate children from Britains major cities in the early years of WWII? Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939 after Hitler invaded Poland. The British government had expected war to occur and to protect the more vulnerable members of society they put evacuation into operation. Evacuation started on September 1st 1939 the exact day war was declared when Germany invaded Poland. So from each of the major cities around Britain had children and other evacuees ready for their move. The government came to this decision by looking at past events and problems created by the Germans. For example in the First World War Scarborough was a town which received heavy bombardment and had many casualties. This was on two occasions, i) the bombing of Scarborough by a large German airship called a 'zeppelin'. ii) warships had sailed along the British coast and opened fire upon Scarborough with large German shells. As some casualties occurred this showed that the more vulnerable people would be at risk in the forthcoming war. So evacuation was to be introduced. Also Spain had been in civil war and so Germany sent troops and aircraft to aid Spains fascist army. Spain was supposedly neutral but they seemed to be getting a lot of attention from Germany at this time. The aeroplanes that were sent over bombed cities, one of which was Guernica, this showed that the Germans had the ability to bomb civilians and were likely to do so. These two occurrences had showed the world, especially the British government that the Germans had the power and technology to be able to bomb major cities and towns. ...read more.


The photograph also agrees with the interpretation because there is such a lot of people taking part, it surely must be a success due to the amount of people involved. However a photograph can only show you one part of a scene so this may seem as though there was a lot of people there. I also know that many of the evacuee's parents died whilst their children were at their foster homes in safety. It is highly likely that if these children were at home with their parents then they could have died along with their families. This shows that evacuation also could have been a success because it saved the lives of children, as it intended to do. Source D is an advertisement from the government showing a picture of a boy and a girl in front of a countryside scene and a city with planes flying above buildings. These are the contrasting places, which the children were to be evacuated to and from. The article below is trying to persuade more foster parents in Scotland to look after an evacuee. It is by the government and is a primary source from 1940. However this could be a form of propaganda, with it being a government view. Although I still think that the source is in favour of the statement in the question. It shows that it could create unity in the community of Britain and by saying, "You will be doing a real service for the nation" it appeals to patriotic people. It also says, "You may be saving a child's life." Which appeals to people to give up their space and use their good nature for Britain's children. ...read more.


She had to listen to remarks against her true religion in the time that she spent there. This is obviously against the interpretation and like many other children underwent, it was often reported that country people bullied the evacuees and the children were stereotyped like I mentioned before. Finally a parent said that it was a very difficult decision to make, leaving her child and their lives in the hands of a stranger. Some families were lucky enough to know people who lived away from potential German targets and could privately arrange an evacuation. However the majority of children did not have these privileges and the parents had to make the decision. Either to keep the child at home in danger or let them live with strangers but in safety. This shows disagreement of evacuation being a great success due to the emotional difficulties of it. The video showed balanced views about the success of evacuation. To conclude I can say that it is not entirely certain whether it was a success or not because of there being fair amounts of evidence from sources etc. for both sides of the argument. However my opinion is that despite the difficulties caused by evacuation and the bullying and problems brought upon the children. The main point for evacuation was to save lives. (Although it could have been something else, such as the boosting of soldier morale. Which would mean that the interpretation of 'success' would be much different.) But the saving of lives was successful and if this was what evacuation was meant to do, then even though some children did have a hard time, their lives were much safer where they were. So in my eyes evacuation was a success, but not a 'great' success because of some individual experiences. ?? ?? ?? ?? Evacuation Coursework Oliver Lines History Coursework Bingley Grammar ...read more.

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