Attitudes to War (Britain at War 1914-1918) (Britain 1900-1951)

  • Created by: oanderton
  • Created on: 26-08-20 11:18

Summary of the Attitudes

Views on the War itself:

  • It would be short
  • It was not unexpected


From within Britain

  • Large sense of patriotism (jingoism) & national pride
  • People felt a moral obligation to join
  • Germany was seen as a militaristic dictatorship
  • War brought new opportunities to civillians
  • Ireland had been united by the war & civil war prevented.


  • From socialists & trade unionists
  • From moral objectors - both religious & conciencious
  • From cultural objectors
  • From political figures
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National Pride & Unity

  • Jingoism - large amount of patriotism.

  • War would unite the British people, debate over national efficiency & help the British people improve their health.

  • Britain would test its resolve 

  • Ireland had been united by the war & civil war was prevented.
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Views on the war istelf

  • It would be short:
    • Russo-Japanese War had been short
    • All colonial wars had been short
  • It was not unexpected
    • Growing tensions with Germany
      • Arms race - building Tension for a long time.
      • Louvain in Belgium was captured by Germany
      • Local politicians killed & old library burnt down 
    • Naval & economic competition 
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Moral obligation

  • Moral obligation - negative propagate about Germany
  • Social pressure to join up 
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New Opportunities

  • Civilians could have a break in routine & get to go aboard.
  • Total war brought increasing opportunities for civilians 
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Attitudes of Socialists & the Trade Unions

  • 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
  • Trade union movement connected to socialist movement of the east.
    • Saw war as a dispute between the rich capitalists
    • Thought the working class would suffer to settle the debt.
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Moral objectors

  • Quakers & other religious groups opposed the war on principle
  • Conscientious objectors decides to oppose the war 
    • Two types
      • One objects to war completely
      • Second will engage in a supportive role but will not fight.
    • They were sent to RAMC. Treated very badly by the authorities but views still respected.
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Cultural Objectors

  • British intelligentsia (scientists, musicians & writers).

  • Saw Germany as a major component of European culture not as a militaristic menace.

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Political Objectors

  • Some leaders opposed the war

    • Labour leader Ramsey MacDonald
    • Lost their position but forward plans for the post war
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