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Why did the British Government decide to evacuate children from 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? There were many reasons the government chose to evacuate children. They began as early as World War 1. The first thing that encouraged the British government to consider the evacuation of children was the death toll from zeppelin air raids in World War One. This was a general concern and did not make the government immediately consider planning evacuation. The attacks however killed over 1400 civilians and caused great fear among ordinary people and officials. In 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was created. After World War One, there was fear that a second world war may possibly occur and cause even more devastation than before. This was part of the reason the treaty of Versailles was created. However, some of the restrictions seamed unfair to Germany and many characters held a grudge towards certain laws. For example Germany was not allowed to develop aircraft for military purposes; however, they were allowed to create as many civil aircraft as they wished. ...read more.

Middle

Although the treat of gas attacks never materialised, the precautions taken against them initially convinced people that they were inevitable. In 1931, although Hitler was not yet around and there was not absolute cause for concern, various committees were set up in the United Kingdom to discuss plans for civilian evacuation from key areas should it ever be necessary. In 1933, Hitler had come to power and by 1935 was making his views, particularly on the Treaty of Versailles, known in Europe. He began using threatening language and was intent on an aggressive foreign policy. Hermann Goering commander-in-chief announced the establishment of the German Luftwaffe in March of that year. He then ordered the production of a large number of fighter planes. (By 1938, Germany was producing 1,100 airplanes a year!) This obviously caused concern among European leaders which was furthermore increased by the publication of a book by a general in the German Luftwaffe. It was called "Total War" and it argued that targeting civilians in a war was 'fair game'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although it was not until 1939, on the day war was declared, that official evacuation took place. Would-be evacuees were to begin being registered so some idea of numbers could be established and billets began to be sought. At this time war seamed very likely because of the various invasions in Europe. By August of the same year, on the day Hitler's armies invaded Poland the evacuation process began. In three days Britain was at war and the country braced themselves for mass casualties as widespread constant bombing was expected. In the first three days, 1,500,000 people had been evacuated to safety. Many of these went to places like East Kent which themselves later became dangerous front-line towns. There was not a specific point as to why evacuation took place in the early days of the 2nd world war. There were a number of reasons which began with general concern from as early as 1914. These concerns became more specific during the years between the wars and finally became very specific in the years leading up to the out break of the Second World War. ...read more.

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