Evacuation in Britain

1. Were evacuees excited by the idea of leaving home?

2. Which source is more useful, B or C?

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I would say that the evacuees were more anxious than excited. A child leaving their home for the very first time, they don’t know where there going, who there going to be staying and they don’t know when there going to see there parents again. I don’t think a child can really be excited when put in this situation.

Source B is a primary source and was taken at the time of evacuation. It does show the children that are being evacuated excited. But this picture could have been taken by the government as propaganda. So that the parents who haven’t sent their children off yet, won’t be worried and will be at more ease to see that there children are happy and excited.

I would say that source B is unreliable because we don’t know whom the picture was taken by. Also a picture just shows one second in time, it could have been that the cameraman could have told the children to smile for the camera. Also there is a small amount of people in the picture compared to the thousands of children that were evacuated. You can’t trust the emotions shown in a picture.

I would say that source C is more reliable because it is a primary source and also it is someone who was there at the time of the evacuation and was evacuated. Because she was there she knew the emotions that were going around. This interview took place in 1988 that makes this source a bit unreliable because she could be exaggerating and we don’t know how accurate her memory is.

3. Why do you think Source D was taken?

I think that the picture taken in source D was for propaganda use, we do know that this picture was taken by the government. This picture has two effects on two different groups of people. Parents who had sent their children off to the countryside obviously must have been worried about their children. So I think that the government published this picture to ease the minds of the parents who sent their children off. This picture shows the children happy and it looks like they are being taken care off. The government is reassuring the parents, that this evacuation program is working and that all is well.

This picture could have been published for the people that will be receiving the evacuees. Obviously the people that leave in the countryside are going to be worried about the health of these children and also the cleanliness. The people who live in the countryside had better standards of living than people who lived in the big city. So this picture shows that the children are cleaned and not dirty.

4. Sources E and F are interviews with people involved in evacuation why do you think their accounts are so different?

The accounts in source E and F are so different because the people who have given these accounts are in two opposite situations.

In source E the mother has portrayed herself as an educated person and has a high standard of life. “Although we had two toilets,” this tells us that she was quite well off. Most of the houses in the slums didn’t have a toilet if there was it was normally outside and was a dry toilet. If a house did have a toilet it normally just had one so to have two must mean that her family was quite rich. Also the standard of living in the countryside was higher than in the slums. So the family she got were probably form the slums and don’t know how to live at such high standards.

In source F the evacuee has travelled to a new home and probably has been misjudged. He was probably a well-educated child that wasn’t treated well when evacuated.

5. Source A is a summary of evacuation from a school history textbook do you think it gives an accurate interpretation of people’s attitude towards evacuation?

I don’t think that source A gives an accurate interpretation of people’s attitude towards evacuation.

This source has concentrated on all the negative factors of the evacuation programs. This source has not mention one positive factor abut evacuation it has mentioned the filthiness of the children and their bad manners. This wasn’t always the case there were children that were well mannered and many children did fit in the country. But there were people who resented evacuation they were mainly the people that had to take on the evacuees.

This source is not very reliable, it was written in 1988 and it isn’t written by someone who was around at the time of the war and evacuation. So this is a secondary source. Also the book that this person has written isn’t entirely about the war and evacuation so he has probably not fully looked into what evacuation was like and how they lives of evacuees and hosts were like.

6. Source G is taken from a novel does this mean it is of little use to historians studying evacuees?

Source G is of little use to historians. This novel is fictional so it doesn’t have much relevance. The author of this novel could have exaggerated on evacuation to make the story more interesting. Also this novel was aimed for children so there is probably some definite exaggeration, either to make the story sound more horrific or it is less so that it is more of a happy story for kids.

The author wasn’t around at wartime and evacuation time so she has probably used other sources of information, her novel is a tertiary source that makes it unreliable for historians.

I wouldn’t say that in all cases that novels are pointless for historians to use. There have been novels written at wartime by people who were there when war was going on and their novel is based entirely on their experiences. This makes their novel a primary source. Obviously there are the unreliability’s of exaggeration and enhancing of readers entertainment.

8. “Evacuation was a great success”

Do you agree or disagree with this interpretation?

I wouldn’t say that this statement is entirely true. There are parts of it that are true and some are not.

Evacuation had to take place it was too dangerous to stay in the city especially for children. So it was a good idea by the government to introduce this idea. But this evacuation program was not properly organised at all. The government basically told the people who lived in the countryside that “a whole load of children are coming to stay from the city and you have to take them into your homes and look after them.” This doesn’t sound appealing to the people who live there, that is probably why so much dislike was shown.

The children were basically told they were going to be leaving home, going to some town or countryside they probably never heard of, going to live with people they didn’t know and they didn’t know when they were going to return home. It is very obvious that they are going to shoe resentment towards this. But they had to go. This led to treatment of evacuees and evacuees to hosts. Some evacuees were treated badly as shown in source F and some evacuees behaved poorly towards their hosts as shown in source E. There was no organisation of this program that was why there was so much disruption as this was going on.

The evacuation of children did save many lives. By being sent to the countryside the children didn’t have to see the devastation of the bombs and all the killings. There aim of evacuation was successful in the sense they provided the children with normal lives and make them able to carry on after the war even after all the destruction.

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