British Government's Decision to Evacuate Children from Britain’s Major Cities at the Start of the War

British Government's Decision to Evacuate Children from Britain’s Major Cities at the Start of the War

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British Government's Decision to Evacuate Children from Britain’s Major Cities at the Start of the War

There were many reasons that during WWII, the British Government
decided to separate children and mothers from their families, but one
of the main reasons is their sudden realisation of the damage that
modern weapons could cause especially to civilians; and after seeing
the devastation that had been caused in the Spanish Civil war, (July
17th 1936 till March 28th 1939) by the German aircrafts. During the
two years and 254 days of the Spanish Civil War, about 1 million
people were killed, 600,000 of which were battle related. The German
bombings added significantly to the death toll. A lot of major
killings were evacuated because they were industrial areas, ports and
airfields, which made them targets for German aircraft bombings.

Evacuation started in September 1939, when around d 1.5 million,
mainly school children, were moved from the main cities to the
countryside. Before the Germans invaded Poland – 1st September 1939,
Britain had told them that if they did, they would declare war on
them, and so, when they did, they left Britain with no choice. After
seeing the civilian killings in WWI, the British decided on
evacuation, and unlike some other European countries, they had the
time to plan it and carry it out before the German bombings
commenced. They used leaflets, radio messages and posters to try and
persuade parents how important evacuation was to the protection of
their children. A lot of people were affected by the policy, around
1.5 million in September alone were evacuated, most of which were in
the first week of the policy.

The Luftwaffe of WWII were a lot different to the Zeppelins of WWI,
as they were a lot more modern and had been developed since the update
in technology. They were faster, quieter and more equipped. The
Spanish Civil War showed people that the Germans meant business. They
had caused such devastation with their bombing raids on civilian

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populations in various Spanish cities, that it showed the rest of the
world what they were capable of with modern weapons.

The Blitz was a devastating event in Britain. It lasted for 77 days,
as London was bombed every night except one, as well as Bristol,
Liverpool, Plymouth, Southampton, Manchester, Birmingham, Coventry and
Glasgow. Industrial areas or ports were targeted, as well as Coventry’s
Cathedral. By the time the Blitz had ended in the summer of 1941,
about 43,000 people had been killed and 2 million were homeless. This
made the evacuation policy more likely as it put so many people at
danger and gave parents and the Government a reason to think about
getting school children to the safety of the countryside.

The Sudetenland affected the decision to evacuate because Hitler had
been allowed to get his way with it. He had walked all over the
League and used threats to get his way. Also helping the choice for
evacuation and war was the Nazi-Soviet pact, the uniting of two super
countries which posed a threat to the rest of the world.

Children being evacuated freed up Mothers to work in the war effort
and saved their lived to enable them to have futures. The public felt
safer knowing that that their children were away from danger. It also
freed up fathers to fight in the army without the worry of what might
be happening to their families.

When Germany declared war on Poland, the British Government reacted by
getting ready for war and sending a force to France to protect them.
Not much was done during this period, the phoney war.

Evacuees returned to the cities because they thought that the worst of
the bombings were over and they thought that it would be safe for the
evacuees to return to their normal lives. There was a second wave of
evacuees when in 1944 V1 flying bombs and V2 Rockets were being
dropped, yet again meaning the separation of families.

I think the main factor for the Government enforcing the evacuation
policy was to protect the children and people of London. This factor
was more important than the others because it protected civilians,
therefore providing them with a future. Protecting the children also
freed up parents from worrying and allowed women to help in the war
effort, and men to fight well.
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