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THE HOME FRONT: 1914-1918" HOW WAS A FIGHTING FORCE
THE HOME FRONT 1914-1918: MOBILISNG A FIGHTING FORCE
Persuading men to volunteer: propaganda, recruitment and Pal'
Outbreak: small, highly skilled army
Lord Kitchener was expected to command respect and confidence of the
people, and he became Secretary of State.
He demanded more men (500,000), and predicted that the war would
last 3 years
Recruitment offices: every town/city
Many enlisted, and raised the age-limit to 35 and appealed to married
Half a million men enlisted
Pals Battalion: enormously popular: over 300, joined together in places
like Liverpool and Glasgow. Friends joined together: whole football
teams, young men, offices, and factory floors.
In this way, whole towns were wiped out
Why did they volunteer?: huge optimism, and many believed the war
would be over at Christmas. They would see the world, have a bit of
adventure and get out of dead-end jobs.
Volunteer or `Volunteer'?: Many were pressurized. Nestle company said
they expected all single male employees to `volunteer'. People were
paid to recruit and it was known that they would prey on the drunk.
Medical officers were paid via how many were passed as `fit': abuse of
Derby Scheme: failure, many attested for later enlistment.
1916: Military Service Act: ages 18-41
1916 May: Act included all married men
Exceptions: conscientious objectors/reserved occupations
Large numbers failed to meet minim standard for military service due to
the poverty and mal nutrition.
Thousands were excluded on the basis that they were doing important
work on the home front, i.e. engineering and mining
By the end of the war, half the British infantry was under 19 years old!
The treatment of conscientious objectors
1914: NCF: No Conscription Fellowship, they became known as
`conscientious objectors'. Some said it was immoral to kill another
human being, German or not. 300 joined.
Tribunals were set up who wanted to be considered for exemption.
Some were still forced at the front to loading or cleaning
In practice: if tribunal refused, sent to France, if refused order,
Absolutists were imprisoned and many did ambulance work
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Created a newspaper: The Tribunal with its first issue in March 1916.
Not much support for them
The role of women in the armed forces
Challenged the idea of having `separate spheres'.
Nurses, number increased during the year
VADs: Voluntary Aid Detachments: had to be financially self-sufficient
and consequently many were upper/middle-class. Worked as cooks,
FANYs: upper class women fired with patriotism normally from their
fathers or brothers. Remained a small and exclusive group: 116 in
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Inadvertedly: the Germans did most of the propaganda work! Shelling of
Scarborough heightened Br fears of invasion and a marvelous
Even complete lies were told by `The Times'!!
The role of the cinema
Cartoons: crude and unsophisticated
Images of the front: official film unit that offered `authentic' scenes from
Very popular as many wanted to understand what was happening
700 films were made
`The Battle of the Somme': film almost made by accident. Instant success:
making £30,000 profit.…read more
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Coal: war bonus was introduced and any surplus went to the treasury,
which was used to profit any individuals doing well.
Agriculture: rationing was set up: `Statuary food commitees', however
there was a reluctance to interfere with the countryside on the
landowners had profits as the war extended. Food became scarce and
prices soared, and there were not many WLA members.
The cost of the war in cash and human terms
Cost Britain £3.…read more