Britain and Total War
Reasons for delaying total war
Nature of British society
Britain was a parliamentary democracy with a free press and strong union movement. There was no tradition of conscription and although government controls were quickly put in place, Britain did not assume organisation for total war in 1914. ‘Business as usual’
Britain’s official response to the war was ‘business as usual’. This is because many in Britain believed the war would be over very quickly. It was assumed Britain’s market would handle the increased demands brought on by the war by handing out lucrative contracts to private firms. Misunderstanding of the war
Many believed that the war would be a rapid war of movement. Such as war would require great levels of artillery and munitions. This view had to change once the war became deadlocked on the Western Front. Government Controls
List the ways in which the British Government increased control over the British people * Civil rights suspended, Britain put under virtual martial law. Police had the right to stop and question citizens, suspects could be imprisoned immediately. * Kite-flying and feeding bread to animals became illegal. * Needed official permission to buy binoculars.
* Pub opening hours limited, beer prices increased and alcohol content of beers and spirits was reduced. * Daylight saving was introduced in the hope of lengthening working days. Government Controls over Food
Britain’s situation compared to Germany’s
| How serious did it get in Britain?
| What steps did the government take?
| Germany’s living standards had collapsed. However, Britain’s had not. Nutrition and diet had actually improved for the British during the war.
| Food restriction were introduced due to a poor harvest and the impact of Germany’s sub campaign. Lord Devonport, the new food controller asked British people to limit their consumption per week to 115 grams of sugar, 1.8 kilograms of bread and 1.1 kilograms of meat.
| Source 6.8 and 6.9
What is the poster in source 6.8 trying to encourage people to do? The poster is trying to encourage people to eat less bread, since bread needed to be imported because Britain couldn't grow its own wheat. Why do you think it is aimed at women?
Women were typically the mothers of the family, and viewed as more sensible, the government hoped that it could encourage them to encourage their families to eat less, and waste less. The ration cards of the King and Queen were printed in national newspapers. Why do you think the government took this step? They printed them to show that even the higher classes were suffering with the war, giving the middle and lower classes the idea that everyone was in the war together, and no one was getting more than anyone else. How do you think the British people would react to the imposition of food rationing? Not well. However, most British people would have understood at the time. Munitions
How did Britain deal with its munitions problems?
List the ways in which Lloyd George tried to keep the unions onside and lessen the danger of strike action * Promised that dilution would last only for the duration of the war. * Urged employers to pay bonuses.
* Encouraged the process of collective pay bargaining between employers and unions. * Supported pay awards and set up arbitration tribunals to sort out possible industrial disputes. Source 6.12
How did the cartoonist use the symbolism of the horse and cart to get his ideas across? The horse and the cart represent the fast moving powerhouse of Britain’s economic and industrial machine. The cartoonist uses the horses to show that labour and capital investment power the arms industry in particular. How is Lloyd George being presented in this cartoon?
Lloyd George is being portrayed as the driving force behind the industrial machine. Does this reflect Lloyd George in an accurate manner?
Yes, Lloyd George was the single reason that Britain turned into...
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