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

Why did so many Britons volunteer to fight in the First World War?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why did so many Britons volunteer to fight in the First World War? Countries go to war for many reasons. Be it the moral rights of the people of their own or a foreign country, trade and their own economy or fear of attack from another. But why do men go to war? Is it the adventure, the sense of danger or the legalised murder of another human being? Do they feel it is their patriotic duty for King (or Queen) and country? This essay will highlight the main reasons that Britain did not have to resort to conscription until 1916, due to the amount of volunteers' at the start of the 1st World War. Britain in the main is an island, a united island since 1706 and the Act of Union which saw Scotland join England and Wales and formed Great Britain. 1800 saw Ireland also join this union and the British Isles was formed. Their nearest neighbour and enemy was France. With a powerful navy to patrol the waters and prevent attack, it was felt that there was no need to maintain a large army and therefore a small well equipped, well trained volunteer force would suffice. Before the 1st World War, there were several small wars around the empire that involved British troops. ...read more.

Middle

This massive recruitment also caused problems of its own. At the start of the war, the army could not provide enough uniforms and weapons for every man who enlisted. The Pal battalions especially, once formed then stayed and trained often with broomsticks as rifles, within their local recruitment area until the army called for them to attend official training. Industry also started to suffer. The amount of workers that had enlisted led to a shortage on the factory floor which in turn led to employment for women. This war was a decisive moment in the emancipation of women.5 Women for the first time started working in factories other than cotton mills. From munitions to engineering, women worked along side men, not always though on equal pay. Women were also pressured in other ways to send their men to war. Propaganda played a large role in the recruiting of men for the armed forces. Posters were produced, encouraging men to join up and serve their King. Some posters were deliberately aimed at women, accusing them of holding their men folk back. "1.You have read what the Germans have done in Belgium. Have you thought what they would do if they invaded this country? 2. Do you realise that the safety of your home and children depends on our getting more men NOW? ...read more.

Conclusion

Conscription was finally passed by the government in January 1916 on unmarried men between the ages of 18-41.12 However conscription did not provide the same amount of recruits as voluntary enlistment had done. More men found themselves in "reserved" occupations, this did not appease the Generals, but it kept the British industrial machine running. This was a valuable lesson learnt. Conscription was enforced at the beginning of World War Two thus preventing labour shortages just as the country was mobilising. The First World War lasted a total of fifty two months. Just fewer than five million men joined the British army from within the United Kingdom. During the first fifteen months of war, approximately half that amount volunteered to fight for King and country. Men volunteered for a variety of reasons. Patriotism, to fight for your country, financial gain and better living standards, adventure to do things that are not normally available to Mr. Average, and to do it with friends and colleagues. Least of all the shame of not having gone to war. To fight for your country and die is honourable. To fight for your country and live is self satisfying and humbling. Not to fight for your country is ? The majority of soldiers that return home from a victorious war receive a hero's welcome, but for many, in their own eyes they are not. . ...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. Why did tension increase in Europe between 1900 and 1914?

    They simply had to accept whatever the Allies decided. * The Germans expected that the Treaty would be based upon the 14 Points. * Germany lost 10% of its territory. * The armed forces were severely cut down. * Reparations were very severe.

  2. The great Patriotic war - From incompetence to victory.

    Therein lay the answer to why, when Stalingrad was in fact in enemy hands, when endless shelling and bombing turned the city into pure hell, when by all human logic the city could not be saved, it was not taken.xix The desire to help was almost universal.

  1. American History.

    - GB also caught this and proposed a joint US-British statement against European intervention in the area, but JQ refused, insisting the US had to act independently. - In December 1823 the Monroe Doctrine was introduced to Congress. It basically called for: no more European colonization of the Western Hemisphere or European intervention in independent American nations.

  2. In both world wars, many enemy aliens were interned in Australia

    of its powers to observe, quantify, marginalise and deport those deemed disloyal"11. Dutton does not enter into the discourse of an imagined enemy as does MacLean. They both bring to reference the same stringent controls and the changes to the boundaries of defining citizenship bought about by the advent of

  1. Japan: Post-Occupation Era 1952-80

    (JSP) was formed in 1945. The socialists of Japan were the heirs???of the prewar socialist tradition, Marxist, and to a lesser extent, Christian. They were a permanent opposition after 1948. The socialist leaders were usually drawn from the labour union movement. Some socialists favoured??revolutionary Maoism?????

  2. After the collapse of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the world ...

    More importantly, must overpopulation and refugee migration lead to the weakening of regimes or might they bring about the exactly opposite trend. Most important of all, although Kaplan might not be far fetched in predicting anarchy, does this mean that we should take all the reasons for and the consequences of anarchy that he gives us for granted.

  1. WHY DID THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT DECIDE TO EVACUATE CHILDREN FROM BRITONS MAJOR CITIES IN ...

    The Germans had built a large bomber force in the late 1930s and had developed "Blitzkrieg" tactics. They used twin engine bombers and scary "Stuka" dive-bombers. The government also thought it was vital to maintain the morale (spirit) of the population.

  2. Africa and the role they played during both of the world wars.

    Although some railways were built for military reasons, the first world war generally had a negative effect on trade and development. Many major public works projects such as buildings and the construction of roads were postponed.14 One of the unexpected gains to Africans from the first world war, given the

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