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Was WWI a Total War for Britian?

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Introduction

Was WWI a Total War for Britian? Total war means that all the resources of a nation (economic, social,political or cultural ) are harnessed to the war effort. Everybody and everything is involved. World War I can in many ways seem like a total war for Britian. It was a time of great change, and resources that were previously untouched were used to advance the war effort. Women, for example, were used for the first time as workers in the munitions industry. By the end of the war, over 60% of British munitions workers were women. But although there was a lot of change, there continuity present throughout. All women were still expected to produce children, and were encouraged: evidence of this can be seen in National Baby Week, 1st - 7th July, 1917. Some women did not work throughout the war. Men who worked in key industries like coal mining or agriculture were forbidden to join the army and so there was little change for them. The Governments introduction of DORA increased its power over society even more, and to achieve Total War, the government needed power over the whole society. When the munitions crisis occurred, the government had to take control of the industry by taking over factories and setting new ones up. Its power over society was shown when in 1914 acts were passed that limited pub opening hours, increased the price of beer and suspended the Whitsun, Guy Fawkes night and th August Bank holiday. ...read more.

Middle

Factories producing munitions were taken over, and new ones were set up to maximise production. The government exercised its control even more by often fixing prices of materials for the munitions industry, to reduce profits. New labour for these factories was found in the form of unemployed women, and the government subsequently employed them. To try and mobalize the country achieve total war, the government used propaganda to great effect. The first military disasters that could have demoralised the nation and destroyed the war effort were covered up by cencoring newspapers and refusing journalists to travel to the front line. All news was filtered through the governments own press office, and soldiers letters were also restricted in content and censored. Very few people in Britian realised the atrocities that were taking place overwseas. Instead, heroic, patriotic accounts of happenings at the front line were published along with vague details of how the campaigns were progressing. Combined with this was the great patriotic feeling of the nation, and its enthusiasm for the war. Recruitment for the army in early years was high: 500,000 men signed up in the first month. Propaganda played an important part in this, persuading many people of their duty to fight for their country. This can be shown by the "your country needs you"advertisemet which was very successful. Young men were also tempted by the promise of travel, excitment and adventure.Films were shown of patriotic nature as well. ...read more.

Conclusion

50 MPs voted against it, and of those who refused to fight some simply refused to kill Germans; they were found jobs like stretcher bearers or as drivers at the front line. The government punished 'concienteous objectors' by sentancing them to prison, executing them or forcing them to do hard labour as it was fearful of demoralising the nation, but even in 1918, people were very hostile towards 'conchies'. There were very few concientous obejectors in any case, as only 16,000 out of 8,000,000 men refused to join the army. Opposition to the government also resulted in Lloyd George becoming Prime Minister in December 1916, after Asquith was criticised of not conducting the war with enough vigour. The experiences of war that the British people had suggests that almost or actual Total War occurred. During 1914 to 1918, many british were directly endangered by the war. On December the 16th, 1914, British civilians were for the first time targeted by, and shelled by German warships at Scarbourogh. At that stage in the war, the consequences proved to be an even stronger dermination to have victory over the Germans. During the course of the war, 1500 civilians were killed, which eventually made many citizens of Britian feel no longer safe. Of all ot the classes, many people believe the upper class suffered the most from the consequenses the most. They suffered the highest class casualties, and were targeted financially by the government for additional funds. Young officers were instructed to lead their soldiers over the top, and often got killed first, as those in command were targeted by the Germans especially. ...read more.

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