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In what ways were the lives of people at home affected by the First World War

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Introduction

In what ways were the lives of people at home affected by the First World War? By Eleri White Throughout the First World War people's lives back home in Britain were greatly affected. Britain's Army relied upon an entirely voluntary service and with many joining up the loss of male members to the community greatly affected everyone's lives. With the men gone, many jobs were left open and for the first time women were allowed some independence as they took over the jobs and became the breadwinners of the household. The initial impact of the war was felt by everyone; the loss of life and materials; conscription; the changing roles of women; authors; poets and even politicians changed view during the war. The replacement of the Liberal party leader, Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith by Lloyd George the former Minister of Munitions, affected the political views of the other parties and people all over the country and reflected political change within society. Some historians have agreed that the war led to abandoning basic principles of the Liberal party, Free Trade and Voluntary Military service among them. This change damaged the people's opinions of the Prime Minister, causing a split resulting in David Lloyd George's appointment as Prime Minister. The First World War also greatly affected beliefs and attitudes towards the church and women's roles, peoples lives were affected in many different ways.. The experience of war fundamentally and completely impacted upon people's lives, after seeing friend or family suffering or dying people started to question God and overall religion creating a decline in church going numbers. Many women abandoned their posts as servants or housewives taking over the jobs that the men had left behind (e.g. to become munitions workers, factory workers and nurses) For the very first time women became independent and started to be more confident in going out without the company of a male friend. ...read more.

Middle

The source extract was taken from the book 'A History of Wales' was written by John Davies, A specialist historian in Welsh history after the war in 1993. But as John Davies is Welsh historian and the book is about Wales, the use of this source may be limited as his nationality may affect his opinion while writing. However its reliability can be called into question as his interpretation of events may be affected by other people's views of the war as the book was written years afterwards. The source is written only about Wales and this doesn't tell us of the opinions of the rest of Britain or how the rest of Britain was affected by WWI. The book is about the general history of Wales only a small percentage is about the First World War and some important detail may have been left out and other parts may have been exaggerated. Although many women found themselves earning good wages for the first time during the war, women were always paid less than men, and were not promoted as often as their male colleagues. They were often given the most dangerous jobs to do. In addition male workers played practical jokes on them. In 1915 there were the strikes against the use of women workers and some men complained of 'dilution', unskilled women taking over the jobs of skilled men. Actions like these meant that when the war ended most women were sacked and their jobs were given to men. There was a big campaign to persuade women to give up their jobs and go back to being housewives. Women who refused to give up their jobs were sometimes attacked. The phrase 'Heroines to Scroungers' was used to describe them and moral blackmail was used to persuade them to give up their jobs. Women demanded equality with men for the first time. Posters were not only used to encourage men to join during the recruitment campaign, many posters were used by the government during the four year period of war to encourage women to 'do their bit' to help. ...read more.

Conclusion

After the war many men previously against the vote for women changed their minds after seeing the result of their work in the war. In 1918 women over 30 year old whom owned property were permitted to vote and fortunately for those against the movement there was a limited number at the time and in 1919, the very first woman MP entered the Houses of Parliament. Women became more independent smoking, drinking, wearing their hair and dressed short and for the first time going to parties without a chaperone. The war had another positive affect the Trade Unions became stronger as workers became more independent and important because of the work they did was vital for the war effort as war backed by industry. In the years after the war the wealthy people were no longer able to maintain their luxurious lifestyles as competition from industries abroad increased- their lives would never be the same again. Miners in South Wales realised their importance on the world stage as the main producers of coal, they tried to use this power by becoming more politically aware virtually forced into it by World War One. Britain had created a massive debt in the face of war of around 7,809 million pounds and people in Britain were greatly affected by this as the government was forced to raise taxes in order to pay the debt back. The war had made technology advances such as silent films possible and led to better medical care and advancements. By looking at the shadows left behind by the previous generation can we see the overall impact that the war had inflicted on people and differently to the historians at the time. We are able to see both the long term affects and the short term. World War One had a gigantic impact on peoples lives all over the world include those at home in Britain, many people's lives changed beyond recognition, both the good and bad things that happened helped make our country what it is today. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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