How successfully did the government deal with the challenges they faced on the Home Front in World War One?

An overview of the main successes and failures.

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How successfully did the government deal with the challenges they faced on the
Home Front in World War One? (24 marks)
Successful
1) Voluntarism 19141916: 2 million men: one of largest volunteer armies in history.
2) Dilution agreements: good cooperation between Trade Unions.
a) Controls on profits, rents, safeguards on jobs and highly skilled workers exempt
from conscription.
b) Working days lost through strikes fell
i) 10 million 1913
ii) Under 3 million by 1916.
iii) Status of Trade Unions improved.
3) Democratic system: Before 1918
a) Right to vote based on property, residence and gender.
b) 25%40% of men and 100% of women could not vote.
c) Representation of the People Act 1918
i) Women over 30 and all men over 18 given the vote as all had served Britain in
the war effort.
4) Ministry of Munitions 1915.
a) Nationalisation.
b) By 1918:
i) Managed 250 state factories.
ii) Supervised another 20,000 factories.
iii) Controlled almost 4 million workers.
iv) Bought 90% of all imports
v) British Summer Time & controls on alcoholic drinks.
5) Department of Food Production.
a) Subsidised farmers to plough wasteland.
b) Allocated fertilisers.
c) Supplied prisoners of war workers.
d) Encouraged women to volunteer.
Unsuccessful
1) Volunteerism did not provide for the needs of the army:
a) January 1916: Military Service Act: single men 1841.
b) Somme, summer 1916: conscription extended to married men.
c) February 1918 (Russia out of the war) up to men aged 50.
d) Limited the freedom of individual: state had power over life and death.
i) Could be imprisoned if refused to fight
ii) If in army and refused to fight could be shot.
2) Antiwar demonstrations 1914.
3) Strikes
a) 1915: Strike in Clydesdale.
b) 1917: Strike in South Wales.
4) Cost of the war
a) £200 million 1913 to £2,600 million 1918
b) Balancing budget abandoned: had to borrow money
i) National debt increased 1,200%
c) War costing $5 million per day

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Taxes increased: both m/c and w/c.
i) Income tax extended 1915.
5) USA
a) Late 1915: financial reserves running out. USA loan: $5000 million
b) December 1916
i) Report to King
(1) Britain faced bankruptcy and complete dependence on USA.
c) $2 million of $5 million per day raised in USA.…read more

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