The Evacuation Of Children From Britain's Major Cities During World War Ii

1081 words - 4 pages

The Evacuation of Children From Britain's Major Cities During World War II

During the First World War, the home front in England did not
experience the terrible warfare that was happening in France. The only
experience the civilians had was the starvation due to the food
shortages they were facing. There were no bombs dropped on the main
cities, particularly because the air technology had not reached an
advanced enough stage.

On 1st September 1939, war was declared between Britain and Germany,
for a second time in history. However, this war was to be a lot more
dangerous, and the deaths were not limited to the battlefield.
Civilians would be at much greater risk this time; technology had
advanced a lot over the 20 years since the last war. Now there were
fighter planes and bombs capable of causing devastation at great
distances. These were not very accurate bombs, but they were very
powerful.

The Prime Minister of England, Neville Chamberlain was very worried
about the fact that there were more deadly weapons available now,
which could create a disaster in Britain, by hitting the defenseless
civilians. He had already seen the results of war between Spain and
the Far East in recent years. In this war there had been terrible mass
bombing of main towns and cities. This frightened Chamberlain, he knew
he could do nothing about the bombing. So instead he asked his
advisors to predict the number of possible casualties. This turned out
to be an alarming number- 600,000 deaths and 1.2 million wounded in
the first 6 months. Chamberlain also assumed that the German air force
would strike as soon as the war was declared. This was a very
important factor, which led Chamberlain to panic and create better
services in case of war such as air raid shelters, and more
importantly to start evacuating children out of the area. However both
of these predictions turned out to be unreliable. The predicted
casualties were 10 times the actual numbers of deaths and casualties,
and the German army did not strike for 6 months after the war was
declared.

Children who lived in large industrial centers and in big cities and
towns were evacuated from those evacuation areas to the reception
areas, in the country -side, where the children would be safe from
bombing. Children who lived in neutral areas, where bombing was very
rare or non-existent, did not need to evacuate. However 1.5 million
children were evacuated - most of them in the first weekend before war
broke out. As well as children, pregnant women, teachers and the
disabled were also evacuated. The first plans for evacuation were made
in 1934, to coincide with the...

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