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Total War and its social and economic impact on civilians in Britain.
‘The Home Front’during World War One refers to life in Britain during the war itself. The Home Front saw a massive change in economic and social stability as well as many other factors. The enormous scale of the war, the need for constant reinforcements and to maintain civilian morale in Britain meant that the home front became a crucial element in the national war effort. When the war was declared in August 1914, there was a high morale of patriotism. The home front had a massive impact on the victory of war as it was believed the strongest home front would win the war. The impact of World War One on the home front in Britain was enormous.
“It will become a war between peoples…with a country that will not acknowledge defeat until the whole strength of its people is broken…”
“Waging Total War on the Home Front” Helmuth von Moltke to his wife. Quoted in C Barnett, The Swordbearers.
Total war on the home front was just as important as those fighting on the front.
“It will become a war between peoples which is not to be concluded with a single battle but which will be a long, weary struggle with a country that will not acknowledge defeat until the whole strength of its people is broken…”
This source is useful as it shows the importance of total war on the home front and how it effects the country as a whole. It suggests a country cannot be defeated until all of society has been beat.
http://www.plexoft.com/SBF/images/Total.War2Total.Living.gif to his wife. .
Poster demonstrating that Total War is needed to have a successful life after war.
It suggests the impact of Total War on Britain and is useful as it shows how the Government encouraged everyone to become involved in the war to have successful living.
Are you in this? to his wife.
British propaganda poster 1916. HSC Excel Modern History.
Government publication to encourage British civilians to join the War.
This British Propaganda poster reveals how the government portrayed the war, as they were hostile to socialists, strikers and ‘shirker’s’.
It is directed as those who are not yet involved in the War and convincing them they should become apart of the War in any possible way.
Recruitment Propaganda, Britain, July 1916. to his wife.
Encouraging men to enlist to fight for their country.
Demonstrates enlistment numbers falling and the need for recruitment campaigns to become more radical to put pressure on men to join otherwise they were seen as cowards.
When total war became a factor for British society it impacted greatly on the social structure within Britain. Many changes occurred, including the importance of women in the workforce, also many holidays and social activities were declined. During the war a strong anti-German feeling arose among the British people. Class barriers were also ignored, most women from all classes worked in factories, to do all they could to help the soldiers on the Western Front. Defence of the Realm Act also became an important factor in the social impact on Britain. DORA suspended civil rights and put Britain under virtual martial law.
“The Great War persists in many of the laws controlling aliens and suppressing sedition and espionage...”
‘Social changes on the home front due to War’ to his wife.
Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory, 1975. (Evidence of War).
This source was written post world war one, and is an Americans view of the lasting social effects of war on Great Britain.
It discusses the need for social changes amongst British people on the home front to help prevent invasion or bombing showing the impact of total war on the country.
“The Great War persists in many of the laws controlling aliens and suppressing sedition and espionage. ‘D’ notices to newspapers warning them off ‘national security’ matters, are another legacy. So are such apparent universals as cigarette-smoking, the use of wristwatches, the cultivation of garden ‘allotments’. So is the use of banknotes entirely replacing gold coins. The playing of “God Save the King” in the theatres began in 1914 and persisted until the 1970’s”
Anti-German propaganda, 1917, World War One Textbook to his wife.
British Government encouraged hatred towards the enemy.
This source is an example of anti-German propaganda that was set out by British Government and useful as if people hated the enemy, soldiers would be more willing to kill at the front and those on the home front would be more willing to tolerate hardship.
This was a social change that grew amongst the whole of Britain.
Recruitment poster for armaments workers
This source is useful as it demonstrates the changing social structure of British society as Women are being encouraged to work when they had never been apart of the industry before. It reveals the need for changes to occur due to effects of Total War.
Women rallied for the right to vote because of the important positions they now played due to total war in Britain.
This photograph reveals the impact of War on women in British society. They believed they now held an important position within society and rallied for a better social standing.
Total war was developed in response to the break down of the ‘war of movement’ and the establishment of the ‘ war of attrition’. This greatly effected the home front which led to many economic difficulties. The war led to inflation and many poorer families could not afford the increase in food prices. The impact of the German U-boat also led to food shortages and this impacted greatly when food rationing was bought in by the Government in 1918. To finance the War, the Government increased taxations and issued war savings certificates and sold war bonds.
“Stock held in the United States by British.. Was sold off to Americans and the resulting dollars were used to pay for imports...”
Government was for Total War in Britain to have growth in the economy.
Propaganda such as this poster, were used to encourage people in Britain to buy War bonds to help finance the War.
It shows a distinct change from investing in businesses to investing in the War to help fund the War.
"To prevent this --“ War 1918 (June)17 Brown, F. Gregory
Government encouraged economic support in Britain among civilians.
This source enables a view of the hardships due to economic stability that were faced on the home front of Britain. It shows the Government trying to encourage total war as they need people to buy War saving Certificates to help finance the war as the economy is struggling.
This is an example of British propaganda aimed at reducing waste due to the poor economy in Britain from the impact of War. By minimizing waste people became a factor of Total War in Britain.
The war increased pressure on British economy.
“Stock held in the United States by British.. Was sold off to Americans and the resulting dollars were used to pay for imports. The original stockholders were repaid in domestic currency or bonds… The whole process permanently depleted Europe’s overseas investments and converted the United States from a debtor country into the world’s greatest creditor.”
Britain had to sell many overseas investments to make ends meet and resorted to massive borrowing, particularly from the United States. The total war had a very significant economic impact on Britain.