Impact of Ww1 on Britain

Topics: World War I, United Kingdom, World War II Pages: 10 (3459 words) Published: April 16, 2013

The effect that World War I had upon civilians was devastating. WWI was a war that affected civilians on an unprecedented scale. Civilians became a military target.
The economic impact of WWI meant that there were shortages of all produce, most importantly food. Consequently, rationing of bread, tea, sugar and meat was introduced in 1918. This was widely welcomed by the British public, as a voluntary rationing system had been introduced a year before, and people were eager to see their neighbours taking part as they were.

Living standards plummeted, and the post-war economic state of Europe was at mid 19th century levels.

During the war, 8 to 10 million soldiers were killed in battle, and 22 million were injured. This meant that nearly every family lost someone. Population losses were enormous.

Propaganda at the time also gave the false impression to the public that everything was ok, when in reality so many people were dying. However, under the strict rules of DORA, people were never to know this. This became clear after the Battle of the Somme, July 1st 1916. 60,000 were injured and 20,000 were dead. This incident was famously made into a film. However, it had a major impact on the British civilians, as this-along with Siegfried Sassoon's anti-war poetry, made a hole in the government's propaganda. The public were finally beginning to see the reality of the war.

World War One also had a large impact upon the role of Women. With all the men at war as soldiers, women began working for a living. This became crucial in 1915, as the munitions crisis began. Not only were women working in factories and coal mines, they were called upon to tackle yet another issue. After the German submarine blockade in 1917, Britain was unable to import goods-including food. The Women's Land Army was formed in 1917. They strove to maximise the country's outcome, and to feed the nation.

Why the British citizens continued the war
The British people felt that it was right to go to war against Germany; Germany had violated the independence of a neutral country (Belguim) that had been protected by the joint signatures of France, Britain and Germany and then began the exploitation of materials within those country's for his how war effort.

This initial action stirred up a sense of chauvinism within the British population who became positively angled towards continuation of what became a 'Total War' against Germany and her Allies.

The British population at home was stimulated to fight a war against Germany as they had realised that Germany had far-reaching military ambitions which were in part due to it being an autocracy. The treatment of prisoners and refugees from occupied territories also continued to be emphasised by the government throughout the war. The sinking of the Lusitania was an especially antagonising event.

There were also in realisation that Germany would likely disregard all their current human rights as was shown by their (the Germans) use of gas in 1915, which was in direct contrast with the rules set out by the Hague Protocol of 1908. Also the highly publicised murder of Edith Cavell gave British people yet more resolve to continue the war efforts.

Government Legal Implementations during WWI
The Defense of the Realm Act (DORA) of 1914 governed all lives in Britain during World War One. The Defense of the Realm Act was added to as the war progressed and it listed everything that people were not allowed to do in time of war. As World War One evolved, so DORA evolved. The first version of the Defence of the Realm Act was introduced on August 8th 1914. This stated that: * no-one was allowed to talk about naval or military matters in public places * no-one was allowed to spread rumors about military matters * no-one was allowed to buy binoculars

* no-one was allowed to trespass on railway lines or bridges * no-one was allowed to melt down gold or...
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