World War 1 on the Home Front

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Beginning of War

  • Britain went to war in August 1919
  • Women were still no nearer to gaining vote
  • The suffrage movement threw itself behind war effort
  • Suffragists and Suffragettes suspended campains for the vote
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Women On the Front Line

  • Women did NOT fight in the trenches
  • British army copied French and set up hospitals near the front line
  • These wered manned by mainly female nurses.
  • Women joined voluntary organisation such as the Salvation Army to cook for soilders
  • The Women's Auxilary Army Corps (WAAC) were formed in 1918
  • These worked on the western front as drivers, secretaries and officials.
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Women and Recruitment

  • Female members of Active Service League encouraged men to enlist
  • The Mother's Union criticised mothers who stopped there sons joining up.
  • Suffragists worked to persuade men to join up
  • The Order of the White Feather identified male cowards
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Women and War Work

  • Women employed into typically 'male' jobs- 500,000 by the end of the war
  • Government took on over 200,000 women (mainly as clerks)
  • There was resistance to women in industry from trade unions fearing male would earn less and have reduction in hours
  • However by 1918 over 800,000 women in engineering
  • 260,000 women joined the Women's Land Army to produce maximum food.
  • Women kept football teams going!
  • 1.6 million also took jobs as bus conductors, road layers, grave diggers etc.
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Women and Munitions

  • Women worked in munitions factories (places where weapons and amunition were made)
  • Backed by Mrs Pankhurst
  • Most factories were private and government-owned factories
  • Was dangerous work but chance of explosions or health effects of dangerous chemicals
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  • 1914- Britain had small army- need volunteers for British Expeditionary Force (BEF)
  • Government began recruitment campain- posters/films/leaflets/speeches
  • Very successful- 2.5 million men joined up between Aug 1914 & March 1916
  • 750,000 men in first few weeks alone
  • Groups of friends joined as a 'Pals Battalion'
  • In late 1915- volunteer numbers reduced due to number of casualties- less willing
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  • May 1916- Conscription (compulsory military service) was introduced under Military Services Act
  • All men 18-41 were conscripted
  • Unless they were in 'reversed occupations' (eg .munitions or mining)
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Conscientious Objectors

  • Conscientious Objectors- often known as conchies
  • Someone who refuses to join the army or fight for their country
  • Reasons- political- socialists thought capitalists were ganging up on working class
  • religious- saw fighting as wrong
  • Conchies had to go to military tribunal to check they weren't cowards
  • If you passed you worked in medical or support services (stretcher bearer)
  • If you failed you went to prison or to fight
  • 1,500 conchies were imprisoned
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  • Defence of the Realm Act (DORA)- passed in 1914
  • Gave Government powers to control daily life in UK
  • Allowed Censorship
  • Gov took control of coal industry- no energy wasted and gov fixed profits
  • Similar in railways and shipping
  • Early 1915- Munitions Crisis- shortage of shells, bullets etc. on Western Front
  • David Lloyd George became Minister of Munitions
  • He set up state-run factories- 20,000 by end of war
  • Resisted by trade unions- 900,000 striked against proposals
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Food & Rationing

  • Before 1916- no shortages by food prices up by 60%
  • Under DORA Gov took control of land for farm production after German U-boats started attacking supplies
  • Gov increased production- 3 million extra acres by 1918
  • Voluntary rationing schemes in 1916-17 did not work
  • Gov introduced complusory rationing in 1918
  • Rationed- sugar, meat, butter, jam & marg
  • People supported rationing as it kept prices down
  • Black market dealers suffered servere penalties
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Civilian Casualties

  • Civilian casualties very light compared to military casualties
  • December 1914- German warships shelled towns in north-east England
  • January 1915- giant Zeppelin airships bombed London, total of 57 raids
  • May 1917- German Gotha bombers raided 27 British towns
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Propaganda & Censorship 1

  • Propaganda- spread of important information, often by the government. Usually has one side message
  • Censorship- preventing people from finding things out (eg. bad news)

Aims of Propaganda and Censorship

  • keep up morale
  • avoid panic & win the war
  • keeping people helping war effort
  • prevent gov from looking imcompetent
  • end anti-government feelings
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Propaganda & Censorship

  • Newspapers- circulation of patriotic newspapers (eg. Daily Express) increased
  • Newspaper editors were keenest supporters of war effort
  • Authors such as HG Wells, Thomas Hardy & Rudyard Kipling produced patriotic materials for free
  • Children- books, toys and games were created to encourage children to be patriotic
  • Films were produced such  as Battle of the Somme (seen by some 20 million) and For the Empire
  • Letters from soldiers were censored
  • Hard to judge success however most British people supported war effort
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Women and the Vote

  • 1915- Suffragettes and Suffragists differences disappeared, they focused on war effort
  • 1916-  All men given vote in changes to Representation of the People Act, women argued they should have the vote aswell.
  • - David Lloyd George (supporter of Female Suffrage) became PM
  • 1917/8- Act to give some women vote approved by the Commons in 1917 and Lords in Jan 1918
  • Women voted in their first general election in December 1918
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1918 Voting

In the 1918 general election-

  • All men over 21 could vote
  • Women over the age of 30 could vote
  • Women over 21 who were householders or married to householders could vote

All women could vote in 1928!

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Did women get vote because of war?

  • War gave MPs excuse to end oppostion to female suffrage
  • Women now took part in defence of country
  • Voting had to be reformed anyway as soldiers has lost right to vote because they were abroad
  • Men were impressed by women during the war
  • Government did not want suffrage movement to begin again after war
  • HOWEVER trade unions still did not favour work
  • Some women did not support war effort, seen as hinderence
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British attitudes to Germany after WW1

  • Germany signed armistice at 11am on 11th November 1918
  • Feeling toward Germany was negative- german owned shops attacked
  • German Shepards became known as Alsations
  • Royal Family changed name to Windsor from Saxe-Coburg Gtoha
  • D L-G reflected opinion-
  • "We shall squeeze the German lemon until the pips squeak"
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