Explain the differing reactions of people in Britain to the policy of evacuating children during the Second World War There were many different reactions of people in Britain to the policy of evacuating children depending on who you were, a parent, a child or a foster family. Firstly I will discuss the parents, the majority were hesitant to let their children go as they did not want their loved ones to live with random strangers, let alone leave their side.
Countless parents worried, but deep down they knew and accepted their children would be much safer away in rural areas, the chances of attacks in rural areas were significantly less than in big cities. On the other hand, some parents did not have any contact with their children, only assurance from the government that their children were safe and doing well. There was no evidence, the parents could only hope and pray that their children were safe. The evacuee’s experience varied from having loving foster families, to having foster families who acted as if the children were a burden to them.
It’s worth bearing in mind that children had no choice in the matter; they had been forced into an unfamiliar environment where they didn’t know anyone. Some were even split from their siblings, which could only have a negative impact. They were put in a big hall and picked out from the crowd from complete strangers, this would have made the children feel insecure because they didn’t want to be the last child picked. For those who evacuated and went to the local school were begrudged by the other kids and came to the point where all the children split into two groups and many fights occurred.
Some of the children were forced to do work long, exhausting hours, which they could barely do. The minority of children were beaten and had awful experiences: ‘She could never tell who’d done it so she used to bash the daylights out of both of us…. we started to get locked in the cupboard. ‘ Michael Caine the British actor. A number of children felt homesick, did not like change to their normal lives in the city and missed their parents, it was very hard on some children.
In contrast to this a number of children got the chance to make new friends and learn new things and for many, the evacuation period was a positive mind-broadening experience leaving them with memories to remember for the rest of their lives. Many thought is as a great opportunity to see the countryside, farm animals and the beautiful scenery. Some of the children were from poorer areas of the cities and naturally they acted this way in their foster homes. They found it difficult to adjust to the strict, wealthy countryside lifestyle and it took them a while to settle in.
Other children were already from richer families so the rich countryside lifestyle was not so much of a problem for them and they settled in well. For the children that came from the poorer areas of the city were amazed by such luxuries, it was the first they were living hygienically and brushed their teeth and had baths. ‘Hot water came out of the tap: and there was a lavatory upstairs’ Overall the reactions of the evacuees varied from child to child some were privileged whilst others were not so fortunate. Foster parents also had a varied experience of the evacuation period.
Some thought it was blessings that they could have a child live with them, especially for couples that were thinking of having children, or if you lived alone and were looking for companionship. If the children and the foster parents got on it would have been a great experience for them. Many foster parents treated the evacuees as one of their own children and grew to love them like their own over the evacuation period. If the foster parents did not want to foster or t want children the reaction to the policy of evacuation would be negative.
Some of the better off people refused to take in children. Some only fostered the evacuees because of the allowance they got or to use the child for cheap labour. It was more that a clash of town and country life, it was a sight for the country people because many of the children were so dirty. Some of the children wet the bed, did not know how to bathe and were bad mannered. . A lot of the evacuees came from poverty in the city, to living with a rich family in the country.
Some foster parents found this hard to cope with children displaying filthy habits in the foster parents homes, like urinating on the walls instead of the toilets In conclusion there were differing reactions to the policy of evacuating the children in Britain in the Second World War, some positive and some negative. The experience people had depended on their own situation they were in and accordingly alter their opinion on the policy. After considering the different points of view it appears to me that the people wanted to evacuate the children despite all the difficulty and trouble that evacuation caused.