TROOP EVACUATION

After dominating Belgium, the Germans entered France across the Ardennes. The British troops, together with the French, were cornered and moved back towards the north of France. The Germans had already occupied France, but still there were many British and French soldiers in the territory. These troops fled for the English Channel from the city of Dunkirk to England.
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When they moved back from Dunkirk, on May 27, 1940, there began a bloody terrestrial, marine and air battle. This produced the sea evacuation towards the English ports across the English Channel of 300.000 British and French soldiers fleeing the big German forces. The Germans kept on conquering Belgium but suddenly Hitler ordered to step back and the enemies re-embarked towards the British islands. Hitler's strategy was an error and the Britons attacked again. The German generals never forgave Hitler for this military error that prevented the annihilation of the last English resistance. The English fleet managed to rescue 338.000 men who, otherwise, could have been massacred by the German army.

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EVACUATION OF CIVILIANS DURING WORLD WAR II

When Hitler began bombing the cities in Britain ( what was known as the Blitz: the sustained bombing of Nazi aviation over British cities which took place between September 7, 1940 and May 16, 1941 and whose objective was the civilian population), the British government decided it would be safer for children to be moved to the countryside to live with relatives , friends or other selected families.


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The evacuation of children during World War II aimed to safeguard the children's life from the enemy's attacks. Usually they were moved to towns and villages to live in family farms, where foster-parents gave them food and shelter. It is estimated that about 3.000.0000 children were evacuated from major cities like London and Liverpool.
The children, separated from their parents and acompanied by a small army of guards, traveled in trains. Nobody knew where they would be living. Moreover, they didn't know if they would live separated from their siblings. Once in their new residence, the children sent a letter to their parents to tell them their new location.

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After the evacuation, repentant mothers searched for their children and they wanted to bring them back. Other mothers decided to move to the towns where their childrens were and once there, find a job and a house to be with them. However, the government launched a campaign aimed at these mothers: They said that children should remain in their places of refuge, much safer than the big cities.


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The evacuation was optional, was a parental decision. Children who remained in the city received ration coupons. They tried to continue their classes even in air-raid shelter during bombings. They also got lessons about the use of gas masks in case of attacks with poisonous and corrosive gasses.

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Foster-Parents had to provide food and a place to rest for the children. There were families who treated evacuated children as if they were their own, but not everyone had the same fate. For example, the case of Emmy Hewlette in the book: She knew a girl that was totally another person when she came back from Bradford
Nobody really knows what happened, but probably someone mistreated her. This is the most horrible face of refuge. A lot of children were abused and other children were exploited working on farms or houses from an early age.


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Despite these efforts, it is estimated that one in ten deaths during the Blitz in London (1940-1941) were children. At the end of 1941 (after the Blitz) the center of the cities, especially London, became safer. The life of the children recovered some peace. Rationing guaranteed food for everyone and although life can never be normal in a war situation, fear of gas attacks and bombings by the Luftwaffe was a memory. Many cinemas, previously closed, were now open.

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But the apparent normality was destroyed in 1944 when the first of the Nazi " buzz bombs ", the V1, targeted London again. Then came the V2 , and the children were again the victims, in a similar number to the " Blitz" . The attacks of the V1 and V2 ended when the Allied Army advanced through western Europe after the success of the D-Day landing.