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Without the First World War, British women would not have gained the right to vote in 1918. Do you agree or disagree with this interpretation?

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Introduction

Without the First World War, British women would not have gained the right to vote in 1918. Do you agree or disagree with this interpretation? In 1914, most MP's believe that women should not get the vote but in 1918, the Representation of the People Act gave the vote to around 9 million women. Many historians have argued that the reason why women got the vote in 1918 was because of the contribution that they made the war effort in World War One. In this essay, I am going to use the sources and my own knowledge to explain how the war and other factors helped women to get the vote in 1918. Many historians have argued that women's contributions to the First World War helped them get the vote in 1918; this is because from 1914 to 1918, an increasing number of women worked in factories in order to replace the thousands of young men who went off to fight. ...read more.

Middle

Source D is the cover of the 'War Worker' magazine; it was produced in June 1917. It shows a man and a woman untied in a common cause. This supports the argument that the war got women the vote because it showed how women worked and helped a lot in the war, as well as the men. Source E partially supports the view that World War One got women the vote because it says that the ability of women to take on what had been men's work meant that an increasing numbers of males were vulnerable to conscription. Other historians have argued that it was mainly the activities of the Suffragists and Suffragettes that gained women the vote in 1918; they argued this because they campaigned hard to convince the government that women should have the vote in the Representation of the Peoples Act. The members also set up organisations to help find homes for refugees who lost their homes in fighting and they gained respect by supporting the war effort. ...read more.

Conclusion

This meant that two parties shared power and so neither would lose out by women voting for the other party. Finally, it could be argued that women got the vote in 1918 due to changes in public opinions, for example, there was a social change. Everyone suffered equally in the war and therefore it was believed that everyone should be awarded equally by having the vote. Also, in 1916, one campaigner wrote a letter to the Prime Minister saying that if the government failed to give women the vote in the new law, they were worse than the Germans. Using the sources and my own knowledge, it is clear that women got the vote in 1918 because of a number of reasons, these reasons are the Suffragists and Suffragettes campaigning, actions of government and social changes. Therefore, the First World War was not the only reason why women got the vote in 1918. In my opinion, the most important reason that women got the vote in 1918 was because of the First World War. ...read more.

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