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Why Did The British Government Decide To Evacuate Children From Britain's Major Cities In The Early Years Of The Second World War?

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In 1930, the British government was alerted with technological advances in aerial warfare; aerial bombing had taken tremendous leaps and became a present threat. Plans for evacuations began in 1924, a full 15 years before Britain declared war, in reply to the threat of destroying major cities through bombing. A year before war was declared, 1938, evacuation began, initial proceeds were panicky, as far as the citizens of London were concerned, and an evacuation of 2 million people was to take place for no apparent reason. This raised suspicion of an impending invasion from Hitler's ever growing Nazi Germany. The plan had been created earlier in the year by The Anderson Committee. However, contrary to popular belief, there were many reasons behind the decision to start the evacuation.

Firstly, a key factor for evacuating children was the inevitable threat of bombing. In World War 1 Zeppelins had been used for bombing, but caused little damage or effect. Technology, however, had since improved dramatically; Bombers could now carry large amounts of bombs over hundreds of miles. A known strategy was attacking the citizen's morale directly, and to carry this out it was believed that bombing major cities continuously could collapse the citizen's morale. In the late 1930's Germany had built a large number of these Bombers, including the Stuka Dive Bombers, these were built for the hugely successful and aggressive Blitzkrieg tactic.

The power of using bombers had already been demonstrated to the fullest extent to Britain, as the Spanish city of Guernica had almost been completely destroyed by German bombers in the Spanish civil war. Also the Japanese invasion of China had been majorly contributed by effective use of bombers, several Chinese cities had been terrorised forcing China to give in. At the beginning of the Second World War, Germany had wiped Poland aside using Blitzkrieg, with the bombers wiping out Warsaw first by "Blitzing" the city.

This proved to be a major threat to Britain as most British cities were in range of German bombers. Also there was also the threat of a gas attack from the air. So the main worry with the British government at the time was how to defend against these attacks. It was said that an air attack would be almost impossible to defend against. This was due to the fact that the fighter planes used to take down bombers could only be operated in daylight, and there was a very limited supply of pilots, Spitfires or Hurricanes in 1939. This proved to be a major bonus for the Germans, as they could be very easily navigated to London at night, there were off course safety procedures such as blackouts, shelters, anti-aircraft guns, searchlights and blast protection, but these were unlikely to stop bombers. Such was the extent o injury the government was expecting, one million coffins were ordered on the day Britain declared war.

Major cities like Birmingham, Manchester and London were the centre of production and industry, so they were likely targets for the Germans. They were also where major war materials like munitions had to be produced so adults had to stay. But

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