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Why the government decided to evacuate children during WW2

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Why did the GB government decide to evacuate children from Britain's major cities at the start of WW2? More than any previous wars, World War II was a war of machines: tanks, battleships, submarines, but especially planes. Since World War I the plane had developed; it was no longer flimsy and only capable of flying for up to 10 minutes at a time. Planes in World War II could carry more fuel, which meant they could fly further, and they could even carry bombs. The bomber had become a weapon of war and Germany was one of the first countries to recognise its potential. Even in 1932, Stanley Baldwin had said in a House of Commons debate "The bomber will always get through" and this belief that a bombing campaign would be truly terrible informed British strategy in 1939. ...read more.


The hope was that it would be safer for the children to live in the countryside because bombing was less effective in areas where the population was scattered. Thus, if children lived in the countryside, it would be far harder for Hitler to kill them. Children were seen as particularly important because they were Britain's future generations and if the war lasted many years they would be needed to join the armed services. Also, evacuating children kept up the morale of both the men fighting in the war and the people in the cities. If people knew that their children were safe and they didn't have to worry about them, they could do more for the war effort. Moreover, it was thought that it would be devastating to see children injured and it might induce panic in the cities if large scale child casualties occurred. ...read more.


However, children were not the only people to be evacuated from areas at risk of bombing. The 1,147,000 included 524,000 mothers with children under the age of five, and 103,000 teachers. From this is can be seen that evacuation was a huge task, and planning for it had begun in the late 1920's. Some children, though, remained in the cities because either they or their parents did not like the idea of evacuation, which was not compulsory. Some other children returned home during "The Phoney War" and very many parents were not sure precisely where their children had been sent. I think evacuation was a success because although the danger turned out not to be so severe in 1939 it prepared the civilian population for evacuation when the Blitz began in 1940. Also, the 1939 evacuation calmed soldiers and civilians at a time when widespread panic would have greatly harmed the war effort. Perceived fears can be as potent as the real thing. ...read more.

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