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Why did the British Government decide to evacuate children from Britain's major cities at the start of the Second World War?

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Introduction

Why did the British Government decide to evacuate children from Britain's major cities at the start of the Second World War? Evacuation was a policy put in place to remove all bouches inutiles from the cities, and move them to the countryside where they would be under less risk of attack by German bombers from the air. Measures were put in place to make sure that the maximum amount of people (especially children) were safe from the bombers, and evacuation was just one of these measures. It had been in place for some time, and had been planned during the past 5 years, starting in 1935. The bouches inutiles were evacuated because not only were they a hindrance to the war effort, but also because they would use city supplies, and would account for a huge amount of deaths if they stayed. ...read more.

Middle

This would cause a lack of morale. In the cities, were the main industrial centres, where all the supplies for the war were made, especially munitions. Hitler also used the Baedeker to target British heritage cities, which again would cause a loss of morale if bombed. Sir John Anderson, who took charge of ARP, found the 1935 plans for evacuation, and renewed interest in them. He increased the amount spent on the plan, so he could arrange a mass evacuation of the cities. The fear of the German bombers however, was not completely justified. The original fears of 100,000 tons of bombs being dropped in just two weeks were not lived up to; in fact, this amount wasn't dropped in the entire war. The casualty count was also over-predicted, and few died in comparison to the amount that was predicted before the war. ...read more.

Conclusion

The second wave, and the true policy, can really be said to start in September 1940, with the start of the Blitz. Now there was a real threat, the government acted in earnest to get as many children as possible evacuated. What was previously just a far-off fear of attack by air, was now a reality. There were many factors that led to the mass evacuation of children from Britain, but the crucial factor had to be fear. The other factors were all important in themselves, and the invasion of Poland did act as a good catalyst, but if there was not widespread fear, then evacuation would not have proved so necessary. The government overestimated the impact of the German bombers; evacuation may have saved lives, but it was very expensive for something that might not have been entirely necessary. The parents were afraid, and had they not been fearful, then they would not have consented for their children to go. Fear was the main cause; accelerated by the other reasons. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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