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Operation Pied Piper: the wartime evacuation of schoolchildren from London and Berlin 1938-46: a comparative policy study in history of education

Gaertner, Niko (2011) Operation Pied Piper: the wartime evacuation of schoolchildren from London and Berlin 1938-46: a comparative policy study in history of education. PhD thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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Abstract

In the advent of air raids, the authorities in London and Berlin operated schemes for the evacuation of children into billets and camps in rural reception areas. The children's exodus either happened orderly and followed years of planning and discussion amongst policy makers (London), or haphazardly following the sudden realisation that the war would not be fought exclusively elsewhere (Berlin). As policies, the government evacuation schemes were bold, controversial and - considering their distinct political contexts - surprisingly similar; as were some of their consequences: the recipients did not accept them uncritically, the municipalities failed to evacuate the majority of children from the cities under attack, and private provision catered for a lot more children than the official schemes. Both, the British evacuation and Third Reich Kinderlandverschickung have since been the subject of major academic and popular interest, but this study introduces two original angles. One is that it stays in the cities (rather than leaving with the evacuees) in an attempt not only to show the geneses of the schemes, but also to appreciate changes made to them in the face of the stray children, closed schools and rebellious parents in town. The other claim to originality comes from the comparison. Despite their obvious similarities and intriguing differences, the events in the warring capitals have not yet been subject to systematic comparison. This policy study thus traces local developments, from the earliest plans contemplated in London during the 1930s to the collapse of the Third Reich and delayed return of Berlin children in 1946. It covers operational aspects and explores themes of agency, citizenship, childhood, schooling and the relationship between state and individual. This study's foundations are documents from the evacuations' executives and conclusions based on the comparative source analyses include a reassessment of the evacuations' levels of compulsion, explanations for the different and changing roles of teachers in the schemes, changes in the state-citizen relationship, and diverging concepts of childhood and expectations of children. The principal - if slightly predictable - conclusion has to be that the evacuation schemes had as much and as little in common as the states operating them. They reflected London and Berlin's unique and shared political and social realities.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Thesis: (PhD) University of London Institute of Education, 2011.
Depositing User: Batch Import
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2014 10:56
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2015 10:00
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