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Sorce based questions on the role of women in the first world war.

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Introduction

History GCSE Coursework, James Cunnington Source Questions 1. Source A comes from a broadcast on the BBC Home Radio and seems to be stating that now the great majority of men are away at war it is the job of women to pull together to complete essential war work. The speaker from the Women's Institute (WI) said, "We are all in it together. Don't be afraid of being alone in your sacrifice," suggesting that she believes every woman will have to give up some of their time or their personal security in order to win the battle that the entire country faced. The speaker is trying to push across the message that there is another battleground, within each family home. She says, "It's no longer a question of what is the most comfortable arrangement for each family." Telling us that the main role for women is to keep them and their families healthy and that's its just as important as what the men are doing. The fact that it is a member of the WI who aired these particular views may lead some to believe that it was simply one group of self-important women but there is more evidence to back up their claims. 2. It could be said that Source B is one such piece. It is quite clearly in favour of women taking part in war work, "women should get on with the job, (and) do it well," (B). It is an article written by a female member of the local council in West Ham in 1941, the author also states in the source that she did what would be considered a man's job during World War One an, "enjoyed it." Showing us that she is a proponent of women in the workplace, just as the woman in Source A said, "ever woman in the country needs to pull her weight to the utmost." ...read more.

Middle

This was done because this was the first time rationing of food across the whole country had been used and many people, especially the middle classes, were unsure of how to cope with it. With food being scarce, people were also being encouraged to grow their own on every available piece of land, one very famous campaign was called, 'Dig For Victory'. The government promoted the growth of root vegetables such as potatoes not only because they were healthy but they were also easy to produce in large numbers in Britain so they didn't have to be imported. This had the knock on effect that fewer supply ships would be need for food and therefore more money could be pumped back into the war effort. This is hinted at in C, where it says that potatoes, "save shipping space." Raising morale was also a major aim of the food leaflets and adverts. Both Sources C and D show this perfectly. C, a leaflet from the Ministry of Food, mentions how, "food is a weapon of war," in the very first sentence, telling women that they were fighting on the, "kitchen front," just as bravely and fiercely as, "their menfolk in the services." Although in a patronising style that was typical of the time, it shows how the women's feelings were being taken into consideration by the government and their needs and interests were being listened to and acted upon more so than ever before. This in itself could have been morale raising for women. Source D is in a similar style to C and has the same aims although it goes about putting them across in different ways. It was produced by the government with the purpose of getting women into the spirit of the War Work, by saying there were, "Medals for Housewives." Along with the cartoon picture of a woman with medals are several sections which include the information of the piece, "saving all the bread crusts and crumbs... for cooking," (D). ...read more.

Conclusion

Source f indicates that women were welcomed with open arms into the factories and field but Source G says the complete opposite. The woman, who actually was a Land Army girl and speaking 1983, said "the people were very resentful in the country, they didn't make it easy for you." These two distinct representations of how women went about their War Work make each other unreliable and therefore not very useful. Also, there are other questions over the reliability of the sources. For example, G is only one persons recollection many years after the event. She could have been the exception that proves the rule and we are not sure if she is biased in an unknown way towards the time she spent there. Without some independent evidence to back up what the woman is saying the source we can never really be sure that it is completely true. The same can be said for Source F as we have no idea of how popular it actually was, who wrote and about whom in particular. Without knowing these things neither of these sources are, I my opinion, useful enough to determine the what women's War Work was actually like. 5. On some levels I agree that the most important role played by women during the war was in the home but on others I have to disagree. Some might say it is true that women in the home did play a major role by keeping their households and families in order because "(women) on the kitchen front have the job of using these foods to the greatest advantage," (C). Saying that food was a weapon, as it does in Source C, is implying that women do just as much as the men on the front line and they are the most important part of any army or war as a whole and so, therefore, women must have been highly valued in the jobs they did. Another way in which it can be proved that they were highly valued is that ...read more.

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