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"Without the First World War British women would not have gained the right to vote in 1918." Do you agree?

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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 WITH THIS STATEMENT? I agree with this interpretation, but only to a certain extent; there were many other factors which helped to gain women the right to vote, and without which they would not have been able to do so. The war goes hand in hand with other factors and without EACH OTHER the vote for women would not have been gained. If the campaigns before the war had not taken place, women would have still helped in the war effort but would not be recognised for their work, they would have been forgotten. However, the campaigns made sure that women were given publicity and the 'vote for women' issue was popular and well known. On the other hand if the war had not taken place then the women campaigners would continue to be unpopular, and the Suffragettes would have continued in taking their frustrations out by their extreme measures. Although smashing windows and burning buildings was only the actions of the Suffragettes, the public had a negative view of women in general, and if the war had not came about women would not have been able to show that they were actually responsible and hard working. My answer will argue that although the war was an important factor, there were other factors which were also equally important in helping gain women the vote. The pre-1914 campaigns by both Suffragettes and Suffragists helped a large amount in gaining women the vote in the long term. ...read more.

Middle

We can trust this to be quite reliable as it from a professional historian. This tells us that although the campaigns gained publicity it still did not manage to convince some women. Source F is telling us the views of a conservative leader who thinks that women do not have the experience to vote, and that women have problems in the way they have been educated, their strength and their duties. This is telling us that the campaigns were not useful in persuading some people that women deserve the right to vote. This source also tells us that quite a lot of people must have felt this way as it is from a Conservative LEADER, this would be quite an important person and would be representing his party and his public's view. This means that quite a lot of people felt this way as Curzon was the leader of the second biggest political party. Still, not all people felt this way. This source is quite reliable as it is a speech from an important person who would have to be reflecting his party's and his public's views. So we can see that although the campaigns gained women publicity, it didn't gain ALL support of the people. Many (both men and women) had still not been persuaded that women should gain the right to vote and as this was the campaigns main objective, it meant that they were not totally successful. The war DID play a large part in helping to gain women the vote, the main reason being that it removed all bad publicity against women. It showed those who were still unconvinced that women WERE responsible and reliable. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, he is writing well after the time so his attitude should be neutral. I know that this source is reliable as from my own knowledge I know that although the attitudes to women turned positive there were still some which were negative. However, the source says that as women were able to take on the men's jobs, it meant that men were vulnerable to conscription. This may be the REASON for the hostility - the men did not like the fact that women had the ability to do what they did and they would have to go to war. Also, we have only been given a small piece from a book, we do not know if there may be a mention of positive attitudes towards women and this makes it unreliable. But source I's main view is that although there was SOME positive attitudes 'in many instances, it remained negative' To conclude I can say that although the war helped women gain the vote it was NOT the main reason to why women gained the vote. It played A part in gaining women the vote and without it the vote may not have been gained or until much later. Without the war the campaigns would have remained under negative views and the Suffragettes would have continued to take out their frustrations by violence. But without the campaigns the women's help during the war would not have been recognised and easily forgotten. It WAS recognised as there was attention of the public and media on women because of the campaigns. This is why the campaigns and the war go hand in hand. 28/11/05 Hist CRS Mehzabin Patel ...read more.

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