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Why did British men enlist in the British army in 1914?

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Robert Haines Why did British men enlist in the British army in 1914? When Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, Europe erupted. The Austro-Hungarian Empire invaded Serbia; Russia sends troops to its borders with Austria and Hungary. Germany declares war on Russia and France and marches into Belgium and Britain declares war with Germany and her allies. Although Britain already had a well-trained professional army, it was far too small to be able to stand a chance against the huge German army that was more than three times its size. As a result of this Lord Kitchener immediately went on a recruiting campaign calling on all men aged between 19 and 30 to enlist in the British Army. There was a huge response, during August and September 1914 736,000 Britons volunteered for the army. ...read more.


Posters were very effective and created a picture of Germans who would run their bayonets through women and rape them. Lord Derby had the idea of 'pals battalions', these were battalions of people who volunteered to join the army in the same area. This scheme inspired local and civic pride, this meant that soldiers would not just be fighting for the British Empire, but for their town or city and friend and family. This was particularly effective as it encouraged friend to enlist at the same time, if one was left behind there would be no one they new. It had a similar effect as 'peer pressure' - if you did not join up you considered a coward by your friends. This worked well in North England and Scotland, where places like Hull raised four regiments and three regiments from Liverpool went over the top of the trenches on the first day. ...read more.


and 'If he does not think that you and your country are worth fighting for - do you think he is WORTHY of you?.' The glamour of a uniform and travelling to different countries also attracted a number of men. Men who had never travelled past the nearest town or city were after the chance of an adventure. And especially since every one expected the war to be over by Christmas it felt like a holiday for some. Patriotism, honour, duty as well as pride in ones town or city played a considerable part in explaining why men volunteered. Propaganda pushed men to enlist as a way of getting revenge for all the deaths in places like Scarborough committed by the Germans. Women too played a vital role in moving men to volunteer, particularly the Order of the White Feather which disgraced men in public by labelling them s cowards. ...read more.

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