1. Source B is a photograph of children being. In the photo, they look as if they are actually running to the train station, this indicates that they were excited about this “adventure” they were going on. Maybe they didn’t realize then, but parents must have explained the idea of evacuation as a temporary holiday, this is why they might be excited. As this photo was taken in the beginning of the war (1939), it supports my idea that people that people wanted to send their children away to be safe.
Although this photo is quite upbeat, the people may have been photographed for another purpose. Most people are smiling and waving at the camera, so this suggests that it might have been posed for a propaganda source. This supports my idea of this photo being used to encourage parents to send their children away to be evacuated. I know that propaganda was used to do this because evacuation was voluntary, with parents deciding whether to send their children away.
Source C shows the tension of evacuation remembered by a schoolteacher of those times. Although this interview was taken years after the event in 1988, this kind of experience must have been hard to forget. Although this interview was taken in 1988, I still believe it to be reliable. The source explains the sadness and haste of the journey. However I do not believe some of the aspects mentioned in the interview, such as “we hadn’t the slightest idea where we were going” and “mothers weren’t allowed with us”. I don’t think this is exactly true because according to my knowledge evacuation had been planned in great detail. I also know that in London 524,000 children went with their mothers.
In conclusion, I think that source B is more useful as it shows how propaganda was necessary to encourage parents to send their children away. I also think that source B is more useful compared to source C because it suggests things that we know are not always true. 2. Most children were evacuated from London. Children lived a very different lifestyle in the countryside to that in the cities. Children were mixed with people of different class and religion. Foster parents expected this and thought the children would be poor. This is shown in source G. “She thinks we’re poor children” this opinion from some foster parents can be seen in other sources.
Source E supports the points given to us in source G; “the children went round the house urinating on the walls.”This shows how poorly brought up the children were. Another source, which I have looked at, is the film “Goodnight Mr. Tom”. This shows the habits of a London boy evacuated to the countryside. This source supports the idea of evacuees being poor and not being brought up properly by their parents. However, this kind of situation is not typical. Sometimes children from a rich background were put with people of a lower class. Source F supports my view and shows how it depends on individual accounts. “How I wish the common view of evacuees could be changed… it is just as upsetting for a clean and well – educated child to find itself in a grubby semi-slum as the other way round”.
Although this source is from a fiction book, I still believe it to be true. This is because the author has chose to write about evacuees, and therefore, she would have to research the topic in some detail to make the story feasible Therefore, source G from a novel about evacuees is quite reliable, but cannot be depended on for accurate evidence about all evacuees. This is because all evacuees are different and they were not all poor and ill mannered; it depended on individual situations.
3. During the Second World War, evacuation was planned in advance in order to keep children safe. Children across Britain were uprooted from their homes and sent into the safety of the countryside. In most situations evacuees were kept safe and led a better life. However, many discovered that life there was no picnic. The earlier evacuations went off with remarkable smoothness, especially evacuation of schoolchildren from London. The cheerful children left their parents and entrained for unknown destinations in the spirit of going on a great adventure. Parents felt at ease knowing their children would be safe. Their experiences lived up to the idea that was fed to them that they were going on an adventure to the countryside. Most children had never seen the countryside before, and clearly enjoyed their time there.
This can be seen from a film that I have seen, “Goodnight Mr. Tom”. In this film a mistreated boy was uprooted to the countryside and lived a better life. I would say this source is reliable, because it is an evacuation film, and the producers would have to do research on the topic to make it as realistic as possible. There were other cases where children were put in a better situation to their previous home. Some evacuees recall their childhood as a better life. An evacuee stayed with a working-class family, was treated like a member of the family, and was given love and affection. Little things, like going to the pictures, learning to bake bread, walks in the woods and the generosity of those who took evacuated children into their homes, have remained constant in the minds of evacuees.
For many, it was a life-enhancing, mind-broadening experience, leaving them with memories they treasure. Another advantage of being evacuated to the countryside was that different social classes became mixed. Children from a working class family that were put with people of a better background lived a better life. They also became more educated. Also there became less prejudice against other religions. This can be seen in the film “Goodnight Mr. Tom”, as children do not understand why they shouldn’t mix with children of different religion or class. Consequently, evacuation contributed to a social revolution where English people became more mixed as class differences broke down.
However, evacuation didn’t always go well. Children had to cope with the trauma of separation and the tensions of fear and anger. Most were unaware of where they were going and all were wholly ignorant of when they would be coming back. Although evacuation plans had been made from an early stage, they had been made hastily. It is revealed that these plans were hopelessly flawed. Government propaganda caused panic rather than controlled movement. Also, the man in charge of evacuation, Sir John Anderson, was a cold, inhuman character with little understanding of the emotional upheaval that might be created by evacuation.
The real problems came in the reception areas where the Government had left arrangements for the children’s arrival and care to local authorities. It was a painful experience being chosen at the train station when they just arrived. Children had to endure being looked over by adults, as if it was a mere cattle market. Thus, the phrase ‘I’ll take that one’ became etched on the memory of evacuees. Source A, depicts how evacuation plans didn’t always go successfully.
From my own knowledge I can relate to what is being told in source A and I can also cross-reference it with source E. Although it may be biased to one viewpoint, I still believe it to be reliable. Also as it is from a textbook for schools it would have to be quite accurate, and therefore this also makes it reliable. Another source, which portrays the humiliation and pain of having to be chosen, is the novel Carrie’s war. Source G is also from Carrie’s war and I believe this novel to be reliable evidence, as stated before. The problems faced by evacuees didn’t stop there.
Some children faced graver problems at their new homes. Some had to endure bad experiences, they were beaten, mistreated and abused by families who didn’t want them and didn’t care about them. A surviving evacuee describes to the BBC radio 4 his painful and darker experiences. His rations were stolen by his host family, He was horsewhipped for speaking out and, with a bruised and bleeding body, was eventually taken in by the police. There were many more cases similar to Johns. Children from different class or religion were also mistreated by people. Another evacuee tells us how parents told their children not to talk to him because he came from London.
This separation is seen again in the film “Goodnight Mr. Tom”, where the evacuees mother is appalled to know his son was socializing with a Jewish child. These kind of painful experiences did happen but only to a minority of evacuees. In conclusion, it would be wrong to suppose that evacuation was one long misery for those involved. Clearly it was only a minority that were ill-treated. Evacuation did achieve its intended purpose, to keep children safe. But at what extent did children had to go through to keep safe from the war. Therefore, evacuation was a success in keeping children safe, but a failure according to the painful and traumatic experiences faced by some children.