GCSE History- British Depth Study
The Home front.
The first world war was the first time Britain had been involved in a total war. All members of society contributed to the war effort at home and on the front line. Meaning the publics lives were greatly effected by the war.
The defence of the realm act (DORA) was passed on the 8th August 1914, right at the begining of the war. DORA gave the the government new powers over the publics lives, here are a few examples:
- Being able to take over industries to provide factories to make wartime materials (e.g. muntions factories). The government also set up there own state run munitions factories mainly employing women.
- Being able to take over transport links, such as railways, to be used for transport of war materials.
- Introduce conscription in 1916.
- Introduce rationing in 1918.
- censor information and newspapers.
- Jail suspected spies and hoarders without trial.
- Forbid rumours or negative comments being spread about the war.
Conscription and Recruitment
When the war started in August 1914, there were millions of men who voluntarally joined up to fight. Reasons for this include:
- People thought the war would be over by Christmas- Britain would easily win.
- People thought it would be an adventure.
- Seemed right to fight for king and country.
- People joined with friends- peer pressure.
- There was pressure to join or be seen as a coward.
- People didn't know what horrors would be awaiting them.
However, the war did not end Christmas 1914 and recruitment numbers fell, reasons for this include:
- People had begun to learn of the horrors of trench warfare, due to soilders coming back from the front line.
- Some of the most able bodied men were not signing up.
- All of the people who wanted to sign up, joined in 1914, so there weren't as many people willing to go to war.
Despite this there was an increasing need for soilders on the front line. To solve this problem the government introduced consciption for all single men aged 18-41 in January 1916. The numbers still weren't enough, so in May 1916, this was extended to married men. Many people thought this was a fair system, as men were chosen at random, and no areas of society were alienated. People who objected to conscription were called 'consiensious objectors', these people often had relgious reasons not to fight and would often take part in non-violent war work such as driving ambulances, if they did not want to do this they would be sent to prison (as they were seen as trators).