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Explain the differing reactions of people in Britain to the policy of Evacuating children during the Second World War

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Introduction

Explain the differing reactions of people in Britain to the policy of Evacuating children during the Second World War. In 1939 just before the outbreak of the Second World War the British government decided to evacuate school children, expectant women, and teachers, mothers with small children, disabled, the elderly and the sick from major towns and cities to the designated reception areas. This policy of evacuation had a big impact on people, reaction and change in morale on all the above people mentioned and other people not being evacuated such as fathers, the host families and the government. In this essay I will be looking at the different reactions of all the evacuees and even people who were not being evacuated such as the men. In this essay I will also be discussing how the different reactions of working and middle class evacuees differed and why they differed. One of the main groups of people evacuation had an affect on was schoolchildren. It was feared that many child casualties would affect parents' morale, so pressure was put on parents to send their children away to the safety of the countryside. To do this, posters and leaflets were issued from the government to inform civilians of the plans of evacuation as one is illustrated below: The children themselves had differing reactions to each other this is partially due to their social class. Some children were from middle class families while most were from working class families. In this paragraph I will be concentrating on how this difference in class affected the children's reaction towards evacuation and how they were different to each other. I will do this by looking at different sources where children from middle class and working class families look back at their reactions and feelings towards evacuation. ...read more.

Middle

Some middle class liked the experience because the same luxuries were made available to them in the country. The middle class evacuees found the working class evacuees very dirty which was a shock to them. So I finally conclude that the working class children that were evacuated had different experiences to the middle class children that were evacuated. Many children were confused and upset while some were happy and excited. Parents were also another big group affected by evacuation. Working class women played a very important role in the war as the government were relying on them to work in factories making weapons and munitions for the war. The women would have taken the men's jobs while the men went to fight in the war. Some mothers who had small children were evacuated with their children but working class mothers were left to work in towns and cities making weapons and munitions for the war, while just their children were evacuated. Mothers who were not being evacuated would not feel happy having to leave their children but would feel happy knowing their children were safe therefore there morale would be high. On the actual day of evacuation when the mothers had to say goodbye to their children many mothers were upset at parting with their children "...many were upset at parting with their children-many were crying and hugging their children". They would have been hugging their children because they probably wouldn't see them for a long time. Other mothers stayed calm as having their children evacuated would make her feel happy knowing her children were going to be safe from a German attack. Pregnant women were another group that were evacuated. ...read more.

Conclusion

The hosts were more kind to the middle class evacuees because the host and the middle class were from the same class so they would have had plenty of things in common. I finally conclude that evacuation experiences varied widely. The main reason for the differing reaction was due to the evacuees coming from different classes and ways of life. The two different classes were working class and middle class. Working class people found it was a happy experience that would change there way of life forever. On the other hand many working classes found it was an unhappy and stressful experience. However to others it was an experience that, at worst, would scar some children into adulthood. The main differing reaction was due to two very different groups of people being bought together, such as working class evacuees, middle class evacuees, host families and many more, and these different people experienced different things from there new environment and people who were new to them and the new way of life. Most middle class evacuees were used to that way of life but working class evacuees were not because they came from the city which was a very different way of life. Evacuation bought together two different types of social classes who met and shared there different ways of life, this had a big impact on all the evacuees feeling. It must be remembered that evacuation did save countless lives and was necessary to protect the vulnerable and to maintain a high morale amongst the British people so the war could be won. Evacuation caused lots of small problems but the government believed that evacuation outweighed the problems that it caused. By Asim Bhatti Asim Bhatti Page 1 of 6 History coursework ...read more.

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