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Women and the war effort in Britain 1914-1918

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Introduction

Coursework Assignment: Women and the war effort in Britain 1914-1918 World war one beginning in 1914 and ending in 1918 brought around many changes in Britain. One change was that many women were invited into the work place because men were fighting in war. Most of the work changes though came after conscription where men were forced to join the army. Many people and historians argue that these work changes for women would have happened anyway but just later and that war acted as a catalyst and sped up this process. I will be discussing various points on sources A to H, and answering three main questions. Source A is propaganda and is unreliable but gives us an insight into what the government were really thinking. The source is unreliable because it has a very obvious aim, to get women into the work place. The poster, made in 1917 after subscription, shows us women being 'equal to men. After subscription where it was mandatory for men to be in the army women were needed in the factories and propaganda was released to entice women into the work place. ...read more.

Middle

The reliability is questionable because of the patronising tone in the article. I believe both articles are questionable in the reliability as evidence about how enthusiastic women were to support the war effort; only the women themselves could tell us that. "War proved to be a great leap forward for British women". - War was a leap forward for British women. Some sources at the time and sources written after show us this. Even if these sources are unreliable or have faults. Such posters as in source a show us women were being thought of differently (being considered for jobs) even if it was for the war effort, men were forced to think differently. War was a catalyst for women forcing attitudes to change in a short space of time. Sources A to H show us women's lives and roles changed and did lead on to additional changes to women's lives in society in the future. This tells us war was a leap forward for women in the long run. ...read more.

Conclusion

Source G praises women for their contribution to the war but also states that women are not needed to be in the work place or to be independent unless it is a time of crisis. The extract was taken from a government-controlled magazine. The article also states 'woman is a comrade and helper to man' meaning the woman is to follow the man and help with thinks, not actually do anything herself. Source H was an interesting silent movie with lots of short propaganda films to show women are needed in work; hoe women enjoy it and don't lose their femininity. The main aim of the video was there three factors. Women's work was voluntary, not compulsory like the men's army, so women had to be enticed in to the work place. War did prove to be a leap for British women and some say it was going to happen anyway and the war just sped it up. Sources A to H provide information to show this to be true but many of these sources are biased or have some unreliability to them. Using hindsight I see world war one as a great leap forward for women. ...read more.

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