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In what ways did the attitudes of soldiers and civilians change towards the war and towards the enemy between 1914 and 1918?

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Introduction

In what ways did the attitudes of soldiers and civilians change towards the war and towards the enemy between 1914 and 1918? The 1st world war was a hard fought battle between Britain and Germany. Many lives were lost and families broken, throughout the war people changed there attitude toward the war and government. Soldiers who signed up for the war or who were conscripted were hardly to see there families and many never made the journey back to them. Although in the end Britain won the war, the war it self was an emotional rollercoaster for all. The 1st world war started on the 2nd August 1914. The government made many propaganda posters to make men sign up for the army this proved to work as by September over 500,000 men had signed up to the army. At the beginning of the war morale was very high as the soldiers and civilians thought the war would be over by Christmas. The soldiers had a very positive attitude towards this. Many soldiers at this point in the war were influenced into thinking the Germans were monsters and horrible people and so this is the idea the soldiers had of the Germans. The war carried on till Christmas and showed no sign of an end although there was a Christmas truce in which both German and English troops played football and socialised together, this greatly changed the soldiers attitudes towards the Germans, British soldiers saw the Germans as more human and less of the beast that they were originally led to believe. Although the Christmas truce was fun for the soldiers their morale dropped as the war had gone on for longer than expected and still no clear end could be seen. As a result of this morale dropped. At the beginning of 1915 Trench warfare had begun this caused morale in the army to drop even more as trench warfare would take along time further extending the time soldiers would need to spend fighting. ...read more.

Middle

In 1918 the Germans launched their last big push called the 'spring offensives' the allied troops held this attack of killing many German soldiers in the process. After the spring offensives Germany realised that it stood no chance of winning the war and so to protect the complete destruction of Germany stopped the war. Morale was at a high as soldiers looked forward to going home and seeing their family's and loved ones. Civilians' attitudes changed towards the war and the enemy according to what they found out from the press and government. Sometimes the government didn't tell the public certain things to keep morale high this later resulted in a loss of respect for the government but in the long term may have helped the war effort as many people who signed up later on in the war may not have signed up if they heard about what was really happening in the war. In the beginning of the war many men signed up for the war most of the civilians that were left in Britain were women and so many factories ending up giving women many jobs. As mostly women were left in Britain the government focused on keeping these women happy to keep morale high. Morale at the beginning of the war was high as the government told the public that the war would be over by Christmas this made many people support the war especially civilians by telling their family men to help the war effort. Civilians also took great pride in their country and so supported the war in any other ways they could like making food for the army. In August 1914, many women organisation were set up this again was because the majority of civilians left in Britain were female. These organisations would find jobs for women who needed to support their families. As women now had jobs they would feel more part of the community and would make more friends at work resulting in them living a happier life. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the first few months of 1919 the war was one by the allies and morale rocketed as the victory was reported home although many families had lost members the nation as a whole was happy that the allies had won. Naturally, the soldiers would get fed up due to all of the reasons listed above. They would feel as if they were neglected and uncared for. Being in the army at that time would feel like a living hell for many soldiers. Some soldiers did not get to visit families or even spend much time away from fighting. Both sides were fed up with the war, and would have wanted it to end soon. The main reason for a British soldier to feel fed up with the war after the first Christmas is because they would have thought that it would have ended by then. It was actually only just beginning at that time. They have also felt like Britain was going to lose the war, because it was dragging on for so long. However there were many reasons for Britain to keep on fighting, due to unnecessary attacks from the Germans, and also because they wanted their country to be victorious. Civilians also had their reasons of being fed up with the war, many promises the government made were never kept such as the war ending by Christmas. The public also took a dislike to the government when hey found out about the Somme and saw the videos, although it is understandable why the government did this. Civilian's morale differed from soldier's morale at many points in the war as the soldiers were experiencing the war first hand and the civilians only knew what the government told them. Generally Civilians morale stayed higher than Soldiers morale throughout the war as they didn't experience the treacheries first hand and weren't told the full story, this was due to DORA. By Amanbir Singh Sawhney ...read more.

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