Government propaganda

Explain your answer using sources B and C and knowledge from your own studies. The evacuation process was a massive event and in the first three months 1.5 million people were evacuated and this was thought to have been one of as the biggest movement of people in history. I will investigate two sources: one being a photograph and the other an extract taken from an interview and decide which I think is more useful as personal evidence about the children's evacuation journey.

Source B shows a photograph which was taken at the beginning of the evacuation process in London in September 1939. As the photograph was taken at the time when children were being evacuated, it proves useful first hand evidential information from the actual time of the event. London was the first place from where children were evacuated as this was seen as a major target area.

From what I can assess, it seems to be a quite orderly evacuation with teachers and other officials all present. I know from other evidence that this was the case, so source B is useful from this point of view. Children were walking in lines and I can see that they have Gas masks round their necks, a poignant picture. From evidence I have studied, children were told to bring a gas mask, an identity card, a ration book, clothing and personal coupons, so this also suggests that this part of the photograph is valuable evidence.

The photograph is unable to show the true emotions of the children, and we cannot see how they are really feeling and how upset or excited they really were. We also do not know who took the photograph. It is thought that photographs such as this one, may have been used as government propaganda, to reassure parents that evacuation was a 'nice' process and that the government had everything in control. Another question we ask ourselves about its usefulness what was it like in other cities such as Manchester and Liverpool. This was just one place out of many, and each child would have different emotions, memories and recollections about the whole process of evacuation.

Source C is another useful piece of information, as it is an extract from an interview with a teacher, who went with the evacuees. This person would have been able to gain first hand information and be able to see how these children were really feeling. The teacher talks about how when they got to the station "the train was ready" From my studies, I know that this was the main means of transport for evacuation, therefore what she said was no doubt very reliable. Another poignant thing that the teacher recalls was how the children often did not know where they were going until they stepped off the train. Another quote the teacher said was that "Mothers pressed against the iron gates calling good bye darlings" This is not a surprising reaction as they did not know when or if they would see their children again but that they had to put their trust in the system.

I realize that the interview was recorded 50 years after the evacuation process and her memory may have faded. We also do not know if there is a level of exaggeration as she said that "Mothers weren't allowed with us". However we know that mothers were on some occasions allowed to go so this may suggest what she was saying was inflated. The teacher also said "all you could hear was the feet of children and a kind of murmur, because the children were too afraid to talk" again from my studies, I know that this was not always the case.

Many children were excited about the adventure that lay upon them; this suggests to me that not everything the teacher said was truly reliable. Another point that needs to be accounted for is that this is only one persons view, and that other evidence would be needed to give a 'fuller' picture. Overall these two sources are useful in their own ways and they do show us a small insight to what the start of the evacuation process was like. It is hard to say which is the better source as each of them seems to leave us with unanswered questions. If these pieces of information were put with other sources, they may give us a clearer answer to our questions.