The British government led by Neville Chamberlain arranged for the evacuation of children from major cities mainly due to the exaggerated claims by the IDC and the RAF on the impact of the German airforce, the Luftwaffe. WW1 had been the first war in which civilians had died; with only 103 air raids, there had been over 1400 deaths and 4000 casualties. This number was nothing compared to the number of men who had died in the trenches, but the knowledge that civilian deaths were likely to be far greater in this war meant the government had to act.

The bombing in WW1 had scared people, but more recently people had seen clips in the cinema of the bombing in Guernica. The images of dead women and children were particularly shocking, as censorship had ensured that the general public did not see the horrors of WW1. The RAF was the newest force and didn't want to lose their independence hence they exaggerated the impact of bombing on civilians. Sir Hugh Trenchard, the founder of the RAF, was instrumental in promoting the RAF as an essential participant in the war. Sir Hugh Trenchard stated, "the government in Westminster will be in pandemonium. It will be swept away by an avalanche of terror." This statement was quite ridiculous, surely the government wouldn't be in pandemonium, there was a gradual build up to war and plans were in place to meet possible occurrences.

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The RAF exaggerated the number of bombs that would be dropped on Britain. No one until WW2 had experienced widespread bombing of civilians except for the few attacks during the Spanish civil war, which Hitler used as his own personal training facility. In 1924 people believed that 300 tons of high explosives would be dropped within the first 24 hours of another war but by 1938 estimates were that 100,000 tons would be dropped within the first 14 days. Actually Germany dropped only 64,393 tons of bombs during the whole war! After WW1 the public became increasingly aware and concerned of the ever-growing size of the German army.

It was feared that the huge number of bombs predicted would cause massive casualties. People believed for every ton of bombs there would be 50 casualties and one third of these would be fatal. If the RAF's estimates of 100,000 tons of bombs being dropped in the first 14 days were correct there would be 1,666,666 fatalities within this time period! In my opinion it would have been difficult to have killed that many British people throughout the entirety of the war using only aircraft. We now know that approximately 28% of this number (60,595) died. To try to limit casualties the government planned to evacuate children from industrial areas. It was hoped, by evacuating children that the 2.8 million hospital beds forecast for use may be lessened.

The last thing that compounded the government's fears and made them evacuate children was the thought that the bombing would badly impact morale and that cities would come to a standstill. Statements from important people did not help either. Stanley Baldwin " the man in the street must realise that there is no power on earth to prevent him being bombed... the bomber will always get through."

In conclusion I believe the most important reason for evacuation was that the government believed the exaggerated estimates provided by the IDC and RAF. They were concerned about the effect on the public's morale if the predicted levels of bombing and deaths occurred, especially if the victims were children. If Hitler had bombed during what is now known as the "Phoney War" and the government hadn't evacuated children then they would have been severely criticised and probably kicked out of office at the next election. My information makes me think that it was understandable for the government to want children evacuated, they were acting in the public's best interest.