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DORA. Defence of the Realm Act. DORA. Defence of the Realm act became law on 8 th August 1914. Licensing hours were introduced Pubs could only open for 2 hours at lunchtime and 3 hours in the evening This made sure the workforce was awake and sober for factory work

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Defence of the Realm Act

  • Defence of the Realm act became law on 8th August 1914.
Licensing hours were introduced Pubs could only open for 2 hours at lunchtime and 3 hours in the evening
    • This made sure the workforce was awake and sober for factory work
  • Newspapers and radio broadcasts were censored
    • The government could control what people heard about the war
    • This made sure the public continued to support the war effort by only hearing good things
  • Food was rationed
    • The government took over land and used it for farm production
    • This ensured there was enough food to feed the public and the army, despite German U-Boat attacks
Beer was diluted
    • The government allowed publicans to make beer weaker
    • This ensured the workforce didn’t drink so much as to make them drunk or hung-over while at work
  • British Summer Time was introduced
    • The government move the clocks forward by an hour in the summer
    • This ensured factories had maximum daylight, meaning they could operate later
  • Mines and railways were taken over by the government
    • The government had ultimate control over them
    • This meant production of coal, and the movement of trains, would be prioritised for the war effort
spy mania
Spy Mania
  • The government took over control of vital resources and communications
  • The public were advised to be on the lookout for spies, with the result that strangers in country areas were often thought to be German Intelligence agents and there were a number of newsworthy incidents
  • In Edinburgh the Evening dispatch reported that an elderly man had been arrested for discharging a shotgun at a pigeon in the mistaken belief that the bird was being used by an enemy spy
keeping the truth hidden
Keeping the Truth Hidden
  • Press reporting of the war was constrained by DORA
  • Created a system of strict censorship
  • War correspondents were kept clear of the actual fighting and had to submit their stories to military censors before they were filed
  • All dispatches were sanitised before publication
Officially the system was to prevent confidential information reaching the enemy
  • In reality it was to camouflage disasters and only publish good news
Provided the government with a wide range of powers from press censorship to the imprisonment of war protestors.
  • It also allowed civilians to be tried by courts martial under section 5 of the Army Act.
independent labour party
Independent Labour Party
  • Objected to the war on Moral and ethical grounds
  • DORA allowed the imprisonment of a large number of people, many of them members of the ILP.
  • The move towards conscription brought the male population of Scotland under closer control.
  • Conscription became inevitable after the number of volunteers began to fall away in 1915.
national registration act 1915
National Registration Act 1915
  • Under the terms, all persons, male or female, aged between 15 and 65 registered for possible service while men from the register aged between 18 to 41 would sign up.
  • The men would be called up as and when they were needed, depending on such factors as the importance of their job or whether or not they were married.
  • Object was to enlist bachelors engaged in unskilled work
military service act 1916
Military Service Act 1916
  • Brought in conscription for the first time in the country’s history.
  • The Act introduces conscription of all single men and childless widows aged 18 to 41 (Jan 1916) and (May 1916) extended the age range to 50.
Under the terms, men could apply for exemption on the grounds of ill health, or if they were employed on war work of national importance, or if they were the sole breadwinner with dependants.
  • There were also clauses dealing with objection to service on the grounds of conscience.
conscientious objectors
Conscientious Objectors
  • Following the introduction of conscription in 1916 those who refused to do military service on grounds of conscience found that they too could be imprisoned for their beliefs.
  • Vilification
  • The two Military service acts of 1916 failed to give a satisfactory definition of what constituted grounds for conscientious objection.
  • This omission was the cause of a good deal of heartache and bad feeling
Most objectors had solid grounds for refusing to serve and many suffered as a result, either by being imprisoned or having to face the contempt of serving men.
process of objecting
Process of Objecting
  • Those who wished to object to military service had to register their reasons and then appear before a tribunal consisting of local dignitaries, such as town clerks and a military representative
  • All told 16500 men registered between 1916 and 1918
Of that number
    • 6000 were granted exemption from any kind of military service
    • 5000 were granted exemption from active service as a combatant but were forced to do non-combatant service
    • 3000 had their objection overruled and were conscripted anyway.
  • A hard core of 2,425 ‘absolutists’ refused to even apply for exemption and inevitably they ended up in prison
To put these figures into perspective, the number of conscience objectors had been computed as a third of a per cent of those who served in the armed forces during the war.
  • During the same period some 3.5 million men were conscripted into the army.
In September 1916 there were 121 ‘Conchies’ in Scottish Prisons and most of them were members of the ILP.
  • Generally these men were faced with hard labour and violence.
  • Many of the objectors were opposed to the war on socialist grounds. Seeing the war as a capitalist struggle to extend power and wealth.