Date Thesis Awarded

4-2014

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

History

Advisor

Bruce Campbell

Committee Member

Frederick Corney

Committee Member

Jennifer Taylor

Abstract

In response to the threat that Hitler would try to invade Britain, British parents sought a course of action to send their children out of harm’s way either to the United States or the Commonwealth Countries. Initially, only the rich could afford to do so. This angered the lower class, engendering a government initiative known as the Children Overseas Reception Board or CORB. CORB arranged for 2,664 children to find temporary refuge in such Commonwealth countries as Canada, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand, as well as in the United States. This program came to an abrupt halt after the sinking of the vessel, The City of Benares, on 17 September 1940, which killed 77 of the 90 CORB children on board, thereby, confirming fears that foreign evacuation was more dangerous than the Blitz. This thesis will attempt to gauge WWII Britain’s value system by examining the institutional and political interplay between these overseas evacuations, the restrictions and legislation imposed on and by the host countries, and Britain’s public reaction to the operation.

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