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Did the Battle of the Somme change British attitudes towards the war?

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  • Essay length: 577 words
  • Submitted: 11/07/2002
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AS and A Level War Poetry

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Did the Battle of the Somme change British attitudes towards the war?

When considering this question there are two types of attitudes to be considered: military and civilian attitudes. To many, the Somme is seen as a turning point for both the military and the civilians. It is seen as a wake-up call. It is made out as if support for the war, both in the army and back in Britain faltered after the Somme. It is a fact that in the early part of the war both civilians and soldiers were under false illusions about the war. Patriotism was the overwhelming feeling everywhere, and recruitment was amazingly high. People were enthusiastic to join the war. They believed that the war would be over by Christmas. We need to discover if, in what way and to what extent these attitudes changed as a consequence of the Battle of the Somme.

Some would argue that the Somme changed military attitudes from enthusiasm and eagerness to disenchantment and horror. There was a small minority of soldiers who did show these feelings after the Somme. There were 16,000 conscientious objectors who refused to fight. Comparatively this was a

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