Jodie Rogge


The second world war gave birth to nuclear warfare. Several countries began using air force as a means to drop bombs on enemy cities. As a result several civilians were put in life threatening danger. To stay safe, civilians in America and Britain were advised to build home bomb shelters in case of aerial bombing. In Britain, they decided another way to prevent mass civilian casualties was to evacuate to more rural areas that were considered less likely to be attacked. Over a four day period in 1939 3.5 million children, mothers and infants, and elderly were evacuated out of major Britain cities.

This evacuation was very traumatic for the children that were uprooted from their homes and sent to live with strangers. It was very common for the children to be lined up and the foster parents would point and choose which ones they wanted. This system was later compared to the slave trade. Although there were negative aspects of the evacuation, it also caused a positive social change.

This evacuation caused social changes in Britain’s society. It shined a light on the atrocious British school system. After the evacuation ended and the war was over, major education changes occurred in Britain. The education act of 1944 was the biggest change. During the evacuation it became obvious that the current education system was inadequate. The new education policy mainly stated that there is secondary education for all, leaving age is 15, and that now there is more ministerial responsibility for education. It also improved the school meals, school guidance, and children medical services. Before the evacuation, education was mainly limited to privileged children, but now it became available to all children. Also, child psychiatric guidance really progressed after the evacuation because so many children were struggling with what had happened. This early progression was important later in the School Health Service. The evacuation caused a major social change because it gave everyone the same chance to a free education and an improved school system.