World War II was the most widespread war in history, and countries involved mobilized more than 100 million military personnel. Total War erased the distinction between civil and military resources and saw the complete activation of a nation’s economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities for the purposes of the war effort; nearly two-thirds of those killed in the war were civilians. Evacuation – The act of evacuating; leaving a place in an orderly fashion; especially for safety. At the start of the WWII, lot’s of children living in main cities and towns were moved temporarily from their homes to places considered safer.
These were called reception areas and were usually in the countryside. Evacuation is one thing that I have not yet experienced; I can only imagine it like a horror movie where your family is split, your life is stolen and all replaced with something completely new to you. Now I am going to research evacuation and get try to get the best possible understanding of it I can. I am going to do this by Judging a wide range of primary and secondary sources, focusing on British evacuation. At the start of the war evacuation was not made compulsory. This changed throughout the war, with it being compulsory at times.
The idea of evacuation was to move people from the evacuation area; the area that was very likely to be bombed; usually a city to the reception area; which was usually in the country side that was very unlikely to be bombed. I am going to evaluate two sources: Source four is a photograph which is a primary source because it was taken at the time. Although nobody knows who took the photograph we know it was taken in London somewhere. I think the aim of the photograph was to show the devastation the German bombing had on London, and why it was so important for evacuation.
There is no evidence in the photo that it was German bombers who did this, but we know it was. I think it is possible that this photo may help to answer the question “Why did Britain start evacuation? “. As we can see from the photo evacuation was important because of the danger of being bombed in a city. The photo does not tell me why the street is in the condition it is, when it happened, where it happened and the reason for it happening. By looking at this source it is visible to me why the government were encouraging evacuation for children. (Supported and as seen in source five).
I think depending on your views of the photo it can be biased because it is only showing the what the German bombers have done to Britain but not showing the destruction that Britain have caused to Germany. It puts across the message that only Germany have been bombing. But on the other hand it is not bias because you cannot show what Britain did to Germany in the same picture. It is very possible that there is a missing paired photo. Personally I don’t think there is any emotion shown in the photo because it is not like there are people in the street crying with sad faces.
After my evaluation of this source I think that it is a reliable source to answer my question of “Why did Britain start evacuation? “. Source three is a written source which is secondary because it was written after the war just naming where the reception areas were. I do not know exactly who created the source. I think the aim of the source was just simply to give information on where the reception area were in the war for evacuees. This source will help me to answer questions like, “where evacuees went”, What types of places did they go” ect.
I have a good idea of why the government sent evacuees to these places as supported in my analysis of source four but the source cannot tell me this. All the places listed in this source I would class as ‘Safe Places’ and as you can see in source 1 from a public information leaflet issued to every household from the government it backs this me up by saying “There is room in safer areas for these children”. This source cannot be biased because it is not giving an opinion, it just basically states the reception areas. Also no emotion can be shown through this source as it is basically stating the reception areas.
I think that this source is reliable for me if I want to know where the British reception areas were for the evacuees. Middle Section: Part One. I don’t think that all experiences of evacuation were pleasant as we can see from source 7. Source 7 is a written source which is secondary because it was written in a book after the experience in the war. Mrs. B Preedy wrote the source in her book in 1992 based on her diary of the war years. I think that the general aim of the book was just to let general people of ‘today’ know about what evacuation was like.
I think that this source can help me to answer the question in my head “what was evacuation like? “. This source cannot tell me where she was evacuated to, where she was evacuated from, when she was evacuated and the names of the people who she was evacuated to. Mrs Preedy’s experience as an evacuee was not a happy one however, Source 10 contradicts this source because the experience of evacuation seems really different, but in this source evacuation seem hard on the children because of having new experiences like having tooth brushes etc.
There is a chance that both sources could be biased, because they have both been written much later meaning they could have forgotten or exaggerated some things. I think that some emotion is shown in the source through the words used. I think that at first the children though that evacuation was going to be easy. As you can see from source 5 the girl in the photo seems very happy and excited about evacuation. This source is a primary source because it was taken at the time. I do not know who took the photo but I know the important bit that it is a middle class girl, so we know she is from a wealthy family.
I don’t think there was an aim for the photo when it was taken, I think it was a parent taking a photo of their child as they leave. I think that this tell me that evacuation is made out to children that it is a great thing. The picture cannot tell me who took it, where it was taken, and to which reception the child was going to. This picture can be biased because it is not showing an experience of a rich girl. I think that this source has allot of emotion showing in it. There are children with ‘huge smiles on there faces showing greater amounts of happiness. And is reliable. I think that for some children evacuation was a good thing.
As you can see in source 10 Bernard Kops though his evacuation was a very delightful one. This source is a secondary source because it was created by Bernard Kops in his book years after it happened. I think the aim of the book was to tell people that evacuation from his experience was a good thing which is the complete opposite to what source 7 told us. This source creates a huge contrast with source 7 because in source 7 evacuation is shown as a bad experience but in source 10 it is a great thing. I don’t think that this source is biased because the man is just telling people through his book what his experience was like.
I don’t think that there is allot of emotion shown through this source but I think the source is quite reliable and I can use it to find out what some of the evacuees were treated like. Most of the children would have enjoyed their evacuation experience. By looking at source 9 which is a secondary source written later after the war, I can see that the evacuees obviously liked there evacuation areas. This source was written by Jim Woods to be put on the history school website. I would imagine he did this to educate people about the evacuations. I think that the source helps me answer if evacuations was a good experience for some children.
Source 10 helps me to believe that this source is very true because source 10 is also a good experience. I think this is a biased source because it is Jim Woods opinion. I think that there is allot of emotion shown through this source, when it says “at first it was quite frightening being separated from your mother” it makes you feel for the child. I think that this source is very reliable because it has supporting sources. I don’t think that evacuation was cheap for the government. They had to give money to the evacuees. As you can see from source 11.
Source 11 is a written source which is a primary source because it has been written during the war so we can see the allowance the government provided for evacuees. I don’t know who created it but it was created to show the allowance provided by the government for evacuees but it was probably a government official. This helps me to answer ‘Was evacuation cheap for Britain? ‘. This source doesn’t tell me how the evacuees received the money. I don’t think that there are any sources supporting this one. This source cannot be biased because it is facts and there are no opinions being voiced through it.
I think that depending on how you look at this source emotion can be shown through it by you thinking ‘that was all the evacuees got for the week’. I think that generally this source is reliable. I don’t think that all the country side folks always had a good experience with the ‘townies’ from Britain’s big cities as you can see in the secondary source from readers digest magazine of 1993. This was created for the readers of readers digest magazine for an article on daily life on the home front. I think that is helps me understand why the ‘townies’ were not always liked. I don’t think that much emotion is shown through this source.
This source is very biased as it gives a bad example of evacuation. To be honest I don’t think this source is a very reliable one because there are to many questions to be answered about it, and is not a complete point of view. The evacuees often changed the hosts lives for the better. As you can see from source 14 the lady tells us that the people staying with not only make the dreary war tolerable but often make it enjoyable. The source is a written primary source. It was given to a government official during the war. A well-off woman created the source with the aim to let the government know she liked having the evacuees around.
The source tells us that not all evacuees were bad but it does not tell us if these particular evacuees were always good. I think that the source has a huge contrast compared to source 13. I don’t think that this source is a biased one because if the children were naughty then the woman would not want them in her company therefore she would not tell the official that they were a pleasure. I think that this source has some emotion shown in it as it shows a very personal point of view. After evaluating this source I think it is reliable.
In some cases evacuation would not of been pleasant for all evacuees and hosts. The hosts would of possibly looked at the evacuees as a burden who run wild, are rude and smell bad. The evacuees would not want to live with the hosts… They would not be used to country life and would want to live with there ‘real’ parents. But on the other hand evacuation would have been a good thing for the hosts and evacuees. The hosts will have been happy to have some ‘fun’ company and the evacuees would have loved the country life.
If I was a historian looking to answer the question ‘What were the effects of evacuation? I don’t think it would be a relatively hard task because I think that there is a lot of reliable sources as you can see from the sources I have evaluated above. But I think every source would have to have a detailed evaluation because it is very hard to tell how reliable a source is until it has been evaluated well. I don’t think I could say whether evacuation was pleasant because some sources tell me it was and others tell me it wasn’t. I think that it is one of those things that have to be experienced in order to make a judgement and I think that nobody will have the same experience and therefore the same judgement.