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Explain the changing attitudes of civilians and British soldiers towards the War.

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Introduction

Explain the Changing Attitudes of Civilians and British Soldiers Towards the War In 1914 many British people were very enthusiastic about the war. When Kitchener, the minister of war called for "a million men and more" there was an overwhelming response. Some people, however, did not share this enthusiasm and many people's attitudes changed during the course of the war. When Britain declared war on Germany in 1914, the vast majority of British people supported the war. Lots of propaganda posters were published around the country by the government. The purpose of this propaganda was to make sure people supported the war effort. The First World War can be said to be Britain's first total war. Because it thoroughly affected people back home. Previous wars like the Crimean war did not involve/affect everyday life of ordinary people. Because they were fought far away by small professional armies. But this war affected the vast majority of people at home in one way or another. This time, civilians were even being killed by enemy action. Early in the war, German warships shelled the east-coast towns. Later in the war air raids from German Zeppelins caused further death and damage. In defence, barrage balloons, searchlights and early fighter aircraft were introduced to defend the skies above Britain. In 1918, the Royal Air Force was formed. 1500 British civilians were killed during the course of the war. The very idea of civilians being targeted shocked many people. Soon, many people were going to find that the war was going to affect every aspect of their lives. The Defence of the Realm Act came to be known as DORA. It gave the government new powers to make the contribution of the British public as efficient as possible; and to protect the country with whatever means necessary. These restrictions are likely to affect the attitudes of many civilians, although the changes took place gradually. ...read more.

Middle

They though that the "war to end all wars" would be a lesson no one could forget. History Coursework: Source Questions Q.1 Source A is written by a historian for a textbook. It was published in 1982 therefore more knowledge of WWI would have been known by then. The Source is about the Battle of the Somme in 1916. He says that troops were told that the enemy would have been blasted by the artillery bombardment and the barbed wire would have been destroyed. But he says that in actual fact, the Somme was the worst slaughter ever suffered by a British army. The wire was not damaged and thousands died trying to cut through it because it became even more tangled up after heavy bombardment. The deep bunkers the Germans were in weren't destroyed either. The Germans gunned down the British as they walked across No-Man's-Land. Source B is a photograph taken in September 1916 at the remains of a German machine gun post near Guillemont. It shows the devastation caused by artillery. It has bodies lying about the trench. It also shows a soldier standing there and we know he's British because of the uniform and helmet. Source A is written by a historian so it should be reliable but this isn't always the case. Source A is about what artillery had failed to do for the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Because it was bombarded for eight days but didn't kill many Germans. It is fact that artillery was the biggest killer of WWI. But on the first day of the Somme, the British had 57,000 casualties due to the Germans strong defences (machine gun). There is evidence now to suggest that the Germans knew there was going to be a major artillery bombardment. Because before the artillery bombardment, it was announced by a government official that the Whitsun bank holiday was to be suspended for workers in artillery ammunitions factories. ...read more.

Conclusion

Source E doesn't agree with Source D. Source E comments on Haig being a good commander because he won the war. But if Haig was such a good commander, why did the war last so long? Well it comments on Haig's conventional method of fighting. And a war of attrition is long by its very nature. Source E can be considered reliable because it is from a historian. It also is a little useful in understanding why the war lasted so long. Source F is an advertisement and it shows the main attacking weapon, which is the rifle. So therefore the main attacking method for this war of attrition is a soldier's rifle. A good comparison can be drawn between this weak attacking weapon and the strong defensive units like the machine guns, trenches, barbed wire etc. Source F also shows that a soldier has to carry a lot of equipment, which is a slowing down process when trying to get across No-Man's land. And the slower you go, the easier it is for machine gunners to kill you. Source F cannot be considered reliable because it is an advert but is useful because it shows that defence was greater than offence, which leads to stalemate, which leads to a longer war. Source G is an extract from a soldier's view on life in the trenches. The crucial piece of information is the mud. Because mud was the thing most soldiers remembered in the war. It made you slip, slide or sink on this mud. So mud can be seen as a slowing down process. Mud slows you down and makes you less interested in fighting the war. Source G can be seen as reliable because there isn't any reason the soldier would want to lie for. And it can also be seen as useful because it shows that mud was a common sight in the trenches and No-Man's Land hence it slows you down. So most of the Sources do help in understanding why the war lasted so long. But it also shows that it is a complex issue and multi-factorial. ...read more.

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