OCR - Enquiry topic: Britain at War 1914-18 (COMPLETE)

Complete and detailed notes for Britain at War topic of Enquiry topic - England & a New Century c.1900-1951

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Britain 1900-51 (OCR)
Enquiry topic- England & a New Century c.1900-1951
Britain at war 1914-18
1. Attitudes to war
2. Impact of war on the home front
3. Political development during the war
4. The coalition of 1915
5. Creation of Lloyd George's Coalition
6. Splits in the liberal party and its importance
7. Development of labour and its constitution of 1918
8. The role of women in the war
9. Extension of the franchise 1918
Attitudes to the war
o Large amount of patriotism - jingoism
Short war, Russo Japanese war was very short, all colonial wars very
short, wars of movement, troops ,lived across battlefields
Moral obligation - negative propagate about Germany. Arm race -
building Tension for a long time. Louvain in Belgium was captured by
Germany, local politicians killed & old library burnt down
Naval & economic competition - naval expression of the economic
Germany seen as a militaristic dictatorship, that would spread
throughout Europe
War would unite the British people, debate over national efficiency &
help the British people improve their health
Britain would test its resolve
Break in routine & get to go aboard
Social pressure to join up
= impression the war was a good thing
Ireland was united by the war
o Socialists against the war because they believed the workers would prevent war by
showing solidarity with their German counterparts. Seen as traitors in the war
o Trade union movement connected to socialist movement of the east. War was a
dispute between the rich capitalist, the working class would suffer to settle the debt.
o Quakers & other religious groups opposed the war on principle

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Intellectuals, scientists, musicians & writers (British intelligentsia)saw Germany as a
major component of European culture not as a militaristic menace - cultural hub
o Conscientious objectors decides to oppose the war
o Two types one objects to war completely secondly will engage in a supportive role
but will not fight. They were sent to RAMC.…read more

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Widows pensions, disability allowances and separation payments paid by the state
Benefits for the Home Front
Provision of munitions canteens of subsidised food, 900 feeding a million by 1918
School meals for the poor set up in 1908.…read more

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Many supported the freedom of smaller nations but opposed militarism
Joining Russia seen as obnoxious and repressive regime
Conservatives was less divided, supporting the war
Labour was divided. The bulk following pro-war Henderson instead of pacifist
First major offenses in Belgium
Germans had established extensive defences and tactis of heavy bombardment
Became clear the Western Front would not be easily broken through
Attempt masterminded by Churchill to open a second front in the Balkans via
Constantinople, Turkey (Germany's ally) failed
Criticism of gov.…read more

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Coalition significance
Facilitated the rise of LG
LG provide the real dynamism of war effort, developing Munitions into the key
element of government
Little attempt made to interfere with military strategy, left to Haig and his
Conscription was introduced in 1916 and emphasis was put on western front
LG supplied a formidable amount of heavy artillery and equipment
Lord Derby made sure he had enough men
This led to the disastrous Somme offensive, major defeat in Iraq, an rising in Ireland
for which force…read more

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Labour agreed to serve under him
Prominent liberals followed Asquith
December, the first "son of the people" became PM
On 7th
Reasons Lloyd George became PM
As minster for munitions and then war, he had shown a new energy mobilising the
country to increase production and deal with workers
The situation required a new leader ­ less part of the establishment and more
popular then Asquith
Asquith made serious errors of judgement
The backbenchers had "grown apart" from their leadership and required a more
dynamic…read more

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The liberals divided between Asquith, LG, demand for a negotiated peace and
o LG became a leader with no party, split in the party was made worse by LG's
o The effects of the split, extension of the franchise, growth of labour support and
organisation split the left wing vote between the Liberals and Labour
The impact of war on development of Labour Party and the constitution of 1918
The war divided the party, although this split was not bitter:
ILP opposed the…read more

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Old system where socialist societies had a special vote (more weighing on their
vote) was replaced with "block voting" - the bigger your union more forcefully your
February 1916- Russian Revolution
Changed relationship between the Labour Party and the war
First stage of the Russian revolution
Socialist parts of the Labour Party loved this.
o Henderson sent to Russia to see what they would do by Lloyd George
o Said they should negotiate peace with Germany like Russia did with Brest-Litosk.…read more

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The whole Labour Party would now make decisions, socialism societies lost their
special votes
After 1918 the labour was far more together, socialism and unions working closer
together.…read more

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Leaders had achieved ministerial even cabinet rank
o Benefited from big growth in trade union membership in the war
o Increased its popular vote
o United behind its new constitution compared with divided Liberals
o Block vote of the trade unions ensured a moderate executive committee
o Local organisation changed its party image to just an interest group of unions and left
wing enthusiasts making more of a national party.…read more


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