• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How far do you agree with the view that World War II triggered major and long lasting changes in British society? To begin to understand the importance of the Second World War on the post-1945 period

Extracts from this document...


How far do you agree with the view that World War II triggered major and long lasting changes in British society? To begin to understand the importance of the Second World War on the post-1945 period, a sensible starting point would be the 3rd September1939 - the date in which Britain declared war on Germany. In the lead up to this date the government began to make preparations for war. They knew that when war broke out large cities would be the target for German bombs. A million coffins were prepared. It was feared that child casualties would affect morale, so with this in mind, the government introduced an evacuation programme to move children out of the cities. Although the scheme was voluntary, the government put immense pressure on parents to send their children away to the safety of the countryside. Of course, not all parents were willing to part with their children and many were unsure as to the usefulness of evacuation. The official government story was that the whole evacuation process had been efficiently organised and executed with precision. However, this is not entirely true. Evacuated children found that their hosts were not always welcoming and that their two lifestyles clashed. Host mothers were dismayed at the poor behaviour of some of the inner city children and locals in rural areas complained of an increase in petty crime. The immediate reaction of people faced with unruly children was to blame their parents. ...read more.


However, the commission was ineffective. Of course, it would have been remarkable if women had achieved equality in the workplace during wartime. This is because the fight for equal wages and equal rights with men is still going on today. Although this fight began, in many ways during World War Two. For the first time, women began to question social and economic rules and demand equal access to educational and career options. Initially, the government made little action to meet these demands. It was commonly believed amongst politicians and trade unions at the time that women's employment would end with the war. Many thought that when the war was over, there would be a shift back to the old values. This belief was shared by the women workers themselves. A survey conducted during wartime revealed that most women expected to lose their jobs once war had ended. One young married woman believed that "You can't look on anything you do during the war as what you really mean to do: it's just filling in time till you can live you own life again". Another wartime survey demonstrated that three-quarters of women would give up work when they got married. This shows there was an element of continuity with the 1930s and that the war had changed very little. If the war had made any changes in the image of women, they were superficial and temporary. The reality was that most women returned to being homemakers during the prosperity of the 1950s. ...read more.


Moreover, Labour had the blueprint at hand. It was in the Beveridge Report, prepared by a government appointed commission during World War II under William Beveridge, a civil servant who had been head of the London School of Economics. The report proposed that all people of working age should pay a weekly national insurance contribution. In return, benefits would be paid to people who were sick, unemployed, retired or widowed. Beveridge argued that this system would provide a minimum standard of living "below which no one should be allowed to fall". Beveridge recommended that the government should find ways of fighting the "Five Giants" of Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness. Socially within Britain, many people had witnessed the "Five Giants" at first hand with the evacuation of cities. Derek Fraser tells us "Bombs, unlike employment, knew no social distinctions...rich and poor alike were affected in the need for shelter and protection...Food rationing produced common shortage". It is for this reason, alongside the popularity of the Beveridge Report, that universalism became the attitude for the Welfare State's induction, as social justice and equality were in demand. Although Beveridge laid down the foundation of the Welfare State, state provision was being made long before his report in 1942. Beveridge's policies were said to be "evolutionary and not revolutionary" and I believe that this is because his ideas were based on previous legislations, which he simply brought up to date. It is proven by the number of similarities between Beveridge's policies and the policies that had been in use previously e.g.; David Lloyd George's 1911 insurance proposals. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Free essay

    The development of the international economy in the period 1945-2000 favoured rich countries at ...

    4 star(s)

    to LDCs and other areas in which industrialisation did not serve their immediate interests. Similarly, the authority of the DCs in deciding the level of tariffs and non-tariff barriers through GATT imposed proved to cater only to their own interests.

  2. How Significant were the Normandy landings in Defeating Germany in World War Two?

    Despite this, they did it even though they were forced to cancel out the Mulberry Harbour at Omaha beach due to the weather. On the other hand, source G was written by a historian and it is obvious that he is bound to know the significance of D-Day thoroughly.

  1. “Generals Win Battles, Resources Win Wars”. How Far Does Your Study of the Period ...

    is a strange general indeed who would not plan a battle without assigned the roles of battalions and estimating the price of victory in human blood. The careful management and availability of resources to a commander can and will dictate whether he will be able to emerge victorious from a campaign.

  2. Was the "Battle of Britain" a Major Turning Point In World War II.

    Because of this the British commanders chose to retreat to Britain where they could take stock of their losses and regroup for the defence of Britain and hopefully the liberation of Europe. Although it was expected that the British Navy would only be capable of evacuating 50,000 troops they successfully evacuated 225,00 British troops and over 110,000 French.

  1. Discuss Trotsky's View that War was the Locomotive of History (1855-1914)

    In other words, Alexander used Russia's defeat to underline the need for change. In this case of the Crimean War it is obvious that change was a result of the conflict. This change took the form of Emancipation, what was considered to be the ultimate change given the circumstances.

  2. How did World War II affect the lives of civilians in Wales and Britain?

    'Some children from poor areas have become unrecognisable.' This was due to the un-relenting supply of food in the country; a resultant problem of this was that the child needed 'A larger gas Mask'. This was one of the many problems that faced the hosts and evacuees during the war.

  1. The Cold War was a big rivalry that developed after World War II.

    This act of defiance was perceived as anti-western. The United States responded by withdrawing it's funding for the Aswan Dam on the upper Nile. Nasser approached the Soviet Union to help complete the dam. The Soviet Union and Nasser had already completed an arms agreement by this time.

  2. Women and social change - To what extent did World War One effect womens ...

    Many women were left unemployed and all rejected from the war effort. By 1915 all men wanting to enlist had done so, the introduction of conscription (compulsory enlistment of randomly selected men) was a necessary means to replace the dead and injured and keep up reinforcements.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work