In many ways evacuation was a success but also a failure in some. In the first three days of September 1939, nearly 3,000,000 people were evacuated to the countryside; this was the biggest mass movement of people in British history. However being a voluntary scheme parents had a hard time deciding; should they send away the things that mean the most to them and possibly never get them back, or keep them with you and risk their lives. I am going to use the following sources to help build on this.
Source A shows a big success of evacuation. Despite this it has its problems. First of all it is a photograph, and in being so it only shows one spilt second in history, maybe all the children were really happy at this point but who knows about every other second of their lives during the war? It is also a natural instinct that whenever you see a camera you smile, especially in 1939 when cameras were rare things. The children in the picture may not have been happy about leaving but simply excited about having their picture taken.
The photograph also appears to have been taken a stage, looking down on the children, this is how official pictures are taken, and someone taking a picture in a crowd would have taken the picture at eye level. If this picture is indeed a Government one this causes another problem, the British Government would not take a picture of children looking upset at leaving. Evacuation was a voluntary scheme so they had to convince people to send their children away, a picture with children crying would not have helped, so this photo may have been staged for the purpose of getting parents to evacuate their children.
The photograph however has it’s uses, it shows children of all ages being evacuated from London; the children are all smiling and seem to be generally happy. I can see that this shows success because from my own knowledge I know that a lot of children were happy to leave their homes as they thought they were going on a big adventure with all their friends. Lots of them hadn’t even seen the countryside or been on a train before so this was a big deal for them, and it caused much reason for happiness among the children.
In fact some of the children enjoyed it so much that after the war ended even if their parents were alive they stayed in their foster home. Source C, D, E and F, on the other hand, show both successes and failures. C is an extract of a children’s book printed after the war making it a secondary source, which are sometimes questionable. We are not sure when the author was born, or if she had any part in evacuation making it less useful than if it had been written by someone who experienced evacuation first hand.
Source D is an appeal from the government to ask more people in Scotland to help in the War effort, and consider fostering a child. One problem is that it is designed by Government officials and I know that in the early years of the war the Government was trying to encourage evacuation as much as possible because it was voluntary. They desperately needed more homes to send the children too so they had to make it as convincing as possible to get people to sign up.
Source E was an extract of an interview the observer did with a father from Southend. It does not tell us who the interviewer was so we do not know if they are biased, we do however know that it is from a mass survey which only a Government official would take, and as an official they would want to encourage evacuation in the entire interview there is only one word in italics, “they don’t have too evacuate” emphasizing that it is a voluntary scheme as an official they therefore may be asking leading questions.
Source F is a clip from a film made about the war, the fact that it is a film is the first problem, in this time period the British film Industry was starting off with lots of people watching them and people do not want to go and watch something boring, so even if the film is based on real life it will have been dramatized to get people to watch it.