The Evacuation of British Children During World War Two
The evacuation of Britain's cities at the start of World War Two was
the largest movement of people in Britain's history. In the first four
days of September 1939, nearly 3,000,000 people were transported from
towns and cities. The Government’s aim was to reduce the risk of
injuries and death from the main target areas such as London,
Manchester, Bristol, Portsmouth and many other cities. The danger came
from German bomber attacks over Britain.
The first wave of evacuation in Britain took place on September 1st
1939. Britain evacuated children from the major cities because of long
term, short term and spark causes leading up to 1st September 1939. It
was necessary to evacuate children as a priority because they were
considered the country’s future, as were pregnant women. It was
necessary to spread the population out towards the countryside so that
the people living there could do their part in the war; by looking
after evacuees. The fear of bombing in the large cities was very high,
due to past events such as Guernica, where bombing took place in 1937
during the Spanish civil war. Many parents wanted their children to
move to safe areas until the threat of bombing had subsided.
Since the First World War when gas bombs were first introduced against
the allies in 1916, the British Government felt vulnerable by air raid
attacks because both sides were constantly producing new technology.
The fear from World War 1 was a long term cause of Evacuation in
Britain. It was during the First World War that aircrafts were first
used. Planes such as the German Gotha IV and the British Vickers
Vimmy, were developed to carry bombs. World War two gave them the new
use of generating mass damage swiftly and effectively. The planes
could carry a certain number of bombs and pursue land and sea targets.
The German airforce the Luftwaffe, was used during the Spanish civil
war to test new weapons that created mass damage. The aircrafts
themselves were a long term cause of Evacuation in Britain; it was
because of aircrafts carrying bombs that resulted in Evacuation.
The British Government wanted to prepare and be safe if another war
did break out. Throughout the 1930’s preparations for civil defence
were inhibited. A short-term cause for evacuation was the Munich
crisis in September 1938 when evacuation rehearsals were carried out.
Preparations for evacuation had taken place long before September
1939, after such incidents as Mussolini’s conquest of Abyssinia 1956 -
1936, when Italy heavily bombed its cities and innocent victims.
Mussolini had targeted Africa for its land and resources such as
minerals; and in doing so killed many people even when Britain and
France were aware. Italy was also in favour of supporting Hitler at
the time of...