Why Was World War I a Total War for Britain?

Topics: World War I, World War II, British Empire Pages: 8 (2479 words) Published: September 9, 2006
Why was World War I a total war for Britain?

Before we can discuss about the topic "Was the First World War a ‘total war' for Britain?" First thing we have to define is," what is a total war?" According to, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_war, a total war is " a 20th century term to describe a war in which countries or nations uses all of their resources to destroy another organized country's or nation's ability to engage in war" The treaty of London in 1839 was the key which led Britain into her first total war, WWI. There are many reasons why WWI was a total war for Britain. However, these are some main aspects to answer the question," why?"; 1The changed of the whole economic policy to focus on war gears and supplies , the used of the conscripted civilians and volunteeraly civilians to fight, work,or support the war effort, women was included. And the used of Propaganda was also one of the main factors which played a big role to increase country's production and citizens' morale in order to alter their idea to support the government engaging in the war.

Firstly, Due to the war, Britain had to make a sunnden change in their economic policy to suit their potential needs, in another word was to concentrate on war gears, supply in order to survive through out the crisis. 2 Right before the First World War started no one in Britain would not have thought that they had to face , to put it as simple as the phrase, a total war economic system. It was likely to be as followed; when a government tried to increase their weapons and supplies production to the requirement of the whole military units and citizens by gathering income from all sources to its expenses. 3Here are some examples of what had been changed during the time. A Primary objective was that the government must take control most of public industries, e.g., ammunition production, railways, ship dock work, and even mining. Why? These would aid the government of keeping in touch with events and situations which was going on in the country and easier way to control the nation's economy because it was a direct method, GOVT to Industries. 4Next, in 1914 the same year that the war started, British government had launched the what called," Defence of the Realm Acts." or DORA. The purpose of the act, http://www.spartacus.schoolnet co.uk/FWWdora.htm stated the meaning that, " The legislation gave the government executive powers to suppress published criticism, imprison without trial and to commandeer economic resources for the war effort." It was setup to prevent any conflict between the military and public or civilians. However, this was when the government gained control over people life. Surely, some would disagree and caused trouble. This is some example from the DORA, 5set a curfew on pubs, decrease alcohol level, the summer break was created, newspapers and soldiers' letters was censored. Moreover, the change of taxation. Tax rate was increased to 500% to gain more funds and some money which was raised by taxing would be spent on buying goods and supplies from other countries because Britain did not have enough land to grow crops, even if they have it would not be fast enough to feed the population and soliders. One more reason of why British government increased the tax because they had to deal with a large amount of expenses while the whole country got involved in the great war.

6Another important thing to deal with was oil. Oil was the main vital resource to almost every aspect in war.For example, tanks, factories, vehicles, some power generators, damn, etc. That was why Britain hurried to do an agreement to middle-eastern company, the Turkish Petroleum located in the area of the Mesopotamia, which is now in the region of Iraq. However, the British was not the only nation but their fierce enemy, Germany, they too. So they tried to use the oil as wise as possible but what seemed to be valued had been draining away by time, the oil was getting...

Bibliography: © Milverton Associates Limited, 1996-2005. All rights reserved
12. From the website, http://greatwar.nl/students/papers/collins/propaganda.html#Third
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