GCSE History Controlled Assessment: The impact of war on Britain c1914-50.
During c1914-1950 social attitudes towards life in Britain varied amongst the British civilians dramatically. The main reason social attitudes changed so much was because this was a period of ‘total war’, a time where men, women, boys and girls were all involved in the war be it on the front line fighting or at home trying to stay alive. The attitude of some people changed positively as social classes were brought together for the first time, meaning it opened the eyes to the different lifestyles around Britain and allowed the ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ to mingle with each other. However not all the British people were welcome to the idea of the ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ mixing with each other and thought that it was “socially unacceptable to be associated with someone of a lower status than yourself”. This shows that the war had both a positive and negative impact on the social attitudes of the British people. Rationing had an insignificant impact in changing the social attitudes of the British people as the concept of rationing all luxury commodities didn’t really work. It had a positive impact on the poorer British people as it gave them a “better standard of living” as now all products were brought with coupons instead of money (something they might not have a lot off) meaning they could now purchase certain things they couldn’t before, like food. It also brought more “equality in society” as all classes of Britain had to use ration books meaning rationing affected all. It had a negative impact on the majority of the British people as there was a growing black market, this meant that the rich could purchase the items that were being rationed for money in secret without the government even knowing so life could continue as normal for them. Overall rationing a limited and at best short-lived impact on social attitudes in Britain as the longer rationing went on, the bigger the black market grew; also the bigger families had more ration books meaning couples with loads of kids would be able to purchase more items than couples with no kids. The biggest thing that happened during the war to impact the social attitudes was evacuation. Evacuation changed social attitude significantly as it was the first time all the social classes were together meaning there were no longer any social classes separating the people. Some people took this mix of classes positively as it meant that they could meet new people and they could improve their own health as the host families could provide proper food and sanitary condition for them to live in however many took it negatively. Many hosts were just in it for the money and so they treated their evacuees unfairly and gave them food that they could purchase for cheap. “She used to bash the daylight out of both of us” shows us that many evacuees were treated much worse at the host families than they would have if they stayed at home. Overall evacuation had a small impact in changing the social attitude as it was mainly the black evacuees who were treated in a bad way or were not wanted by host families meaning that social attitude towards white people of different classes had slightly changed but racism was still a major issue. Evacuation shed a light on poverty for all people living In Britain, meaning now everybody knew the conditions that certain civilians were faced with. This resulted in a profound change in the social attitude of British people. It impacted mostly the poorer members of Britain in a positive way as the “Free schools act of 1934” and the “new towns act of 1946”. This meant that all members of Britain were provided with decent houses to live in so no longer was there anybody living in slums. It did however impact certain people’s social attitudes negatively, as “the N.H.S cost a lot of money to get started”. This meant that certain people like doctors and nurses didn’t get paid as much and so they were unhappy that they were working more for less. Overall poverty had a very lasting impact on the social attitude of people as such things that were set up to combat the social needs of people then, like the N.H.S are still in place now. Also the motto of “if dangers are to be shared, then resources should be shared as well” is still in place meaning if the entire country is under attack, then all the rewards like decent houses and free health care should be available for everybody.