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Why did the British government evacuate children from Britain(TM)s major cities in the early years if ww2?

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Why did the British government evacuate children from Britain's major cities in the early years if ww2? In 1939 the British government decided to evacuate children from the major cities. On the first of September the evacuation began. It was called 'Operation Pied Piper'. A main reason for evacuation was because the government knew that the war would be a 'total war' and there had been a major advance in air technology bringing bombing to the major cities which would kill in huge numbers. To prevent this from harming young innocent children they moved them out of the way to the countryside with villagers known as hosts. The evacuation process was voluntary and 1.5 million children were evacuated (c735, 000 of which were travelling alone). Evacuations were for children school aged. They went with friends and siblings, their mothers or other responsible persons accompanied children under the school age, expectant mothers and disabled people were also evacuated. The country was divided into three different types of zones; first being 'evacuation areas' in which were expected to be heavily bombed, second was 'reception area' which were mainly countryside areas safe from bombing, the third zone was the 'neutral area' which could suffer light attacks. Evacuees were sent to the 'Reception areas' of Britain as they were thought to be safe from bombings. Another important, long term reason for evacuation was the legacy of the first world war. ...read more.


In addition, buildings that were damaged included a school containing young children and a hospital containing wounded of the civil war. This showed Hitler's ruthlessness in foreign policy and disregard for civilian life. This made it apparent to the British government that the need to protect civilians, particularly children, was great. The Bombings at Shanghai were also public so that everyone could see the devastation caused by air. The complete destruction of the town showed the advance in plane technology and showed how easy it was to strike on the innocent unknowing public. This scared the British as they saw many disturbing sights from what's left after the attack such as the photograph of a poor baby sitting on the train track after the attack, injured, dirty and crying*. The attacks were on very populated areas such as the train station, it killed tens of thousands of people in a few minutes, this showed how little time they would have to escape and what would happen to them, their homes and most of all there children. The government created a film convincing parents to evacuate their children this piece of propaganda was called 'westward ho' it was made by the bbc in 1939, this film showed evacuation as a fun and exciting time for children, this made the parents feel less anxious and more happy about evacuation the film made everything look joyful and thrilling, it didn't show children crying or being upset (which they were bound to do as they were leaving their parents for the first time and they didn't know when they would be back). ...read more.


Finally, the trigger cause for evacuation was the Munich Agreement (in hindsight sometimes known as the Munich Crisis). Although Chamberlain claimed that there would be 'Peace in our time', evacuation plans were set in motion immediately after Chamberlain returned to Britain. This may have been because the British government realised their policy of appeasement had failed, and that war was inevitable. Soon after, this was proved to be the right decision as Germany invaded Poland and Britain declared war on them. In conclusion, there were several long and short-term causes of evacuation. The main reason the government evacuated children from the major cities in the early years of ww2 is because of the public fear, the fear of being bombed without any warning like in Guernica and Shanghai; they were not prepared and had no warning and as a result many died including children. They saw the public display of destruction in the towns and they didn't want it to happen to them. The government created the propaganda film to encourage the process which worked but they could of made it compulsory for all as some of the children who didn't died as a result. The evacuation saved many lives and worked, but it had difficulties such as some children didn't get on with their parents when they returned, they lost their parents, hosts treated their evacuee badly, some hosts didn't get on with the evacuee's mothers, but only a few people went home due to this. The majority stayed and had a good time during their stay, and evacuation saved potentially thousands of children. ...read more.

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