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In What Ways Were the Lives of  People At Home Affected By the First World War

The effects of the First World War didn’t hit the shores of Britain for a time as the food supplies from places such as America were still able to get through. The British forces were also managing; however after a short time period the British forces began to struggle meaning the government would have to find soldiers from another source. This is when the government began to ask for volunteers to enlist in the army.There were thousands of young men from all over Great Britain joining up to do there part in the war. Seven hundred and fifty thousand men joined up for the army alone in the first month of the government asking for volunteers, in total two and a half million men volunteered in 1914 and 1915. Source A1 (ii) shows that it wasn’t just the lower class people who were signing up. In the queue there is a cross section of the British society. This shows that every man wanted to do his duty to his country no matter what they’re class was. The photograph is reliable evidence that there were people prepared to volunteer to join the war. However this photo isn’t initially truthful. It is obvious that the crowed are aware that they are having there photograph taken and are possibly posing for it. Also if you look closely at the photo there are women and children there; the army only recruited men over the age of eighteen. Anyone between nineteen and forty-one could volunteer. This gives the impression that many of the people are there simply to have there picture taken.The propaganda that was around England and Wales defiantly would have help draw men into recruiting offices as it was designed to make men over nineteen feel like it was there duty to go and fight; to prove there just as heroic as their ancestors. The posters made you believe that if u didn’t join you were cowards and you would have to explain to you future family why you didn’t fight for your country. If you look at source A2 (ii) (which was around Wales) you can see how there was constant pressure on young men to join the war effort. The poster provides reliable evidence that men between the ages of nineteen and thirty who were physically were made to feel ashamed that they were not enlisted to join, this shame would have been with them everyday when they looked in a mirror or whenever they saw a soldier and this would be with them for the rest of their lives! However although we can find all this out about this source we cannot tell how effective it was. We cannot tell whether it made more, young men enlist.Although there was constant pressure to join the forces there were a handful of men who chose to stand for their beliefs. Looking at source A5 you can see that not everyone was affected by the recruitment campaign. The source shows you the point of view of some men who were standing alone. The source was written in 1916 by Harold Bing who had smuggled himself out of Wormwood Scrubs prison. This is the year in which the conscription was introduced. The men were in prison because of their beliefs that war was not the answer and therefore refused to join the army. It is obvious that the government wouldn’t want this letter getting out as it says what the men were going through just to stand by their beliefs. However, one downside to this source is that it is only one person’s opinion. We do not know how many other men had the same beliefs.When the war broke out the majority of the British public were on the government’s side. Even Suffragettes and strikers stopped their protests in order to help the war effort. Due to the war the government faced some big chances. In 1916 the parties began to work together to help with the war effort. By this time Lloyd George was the Prime Minister. Looking at Source B3 we are getting the impression that the parties are happy about fighting the war together, however this source is only a photograph and may not be a reliable source. What most people do when they see a camera is to smile. This tells us that the parties may not be happy with the way that the war is being fought.Lloyd George had a massive impact on the way in which the war was fought as he was munitions and later prime minister. Source B2 shows us the way in which a cartoonist saw him, as a strong and dominant person who was constantly pushing the war effort. However this is only an interpretation of him by the cartoonist although it does back up sources B1 and B3.As the war progressed more and more women were employed to do the jobs which men had left behind to fight in France. May of the women were drafted into ammunition factories by Lloyd George due to high shortages of shells on the Western Front. Women demanded the right to equal pay as men in the ammunition factories. Although they got the equal pay this didn’t have a permanent effect on the status of women workers. Even though during the war women were doing the jobs that men did, they were sacked at the end of the war so that the men could have their jobs back, the women that were able to keep their jobs weren’t getting paid the same rate as the men once again.Because the women were working and being paid they had independence. Source C5 (i) tells us how women would go to pubs (which were classed as a men’s place), restraints on there own or with a female companion. These sorts of things would never have been heard of before the war. However this source is a generalisation, we do not know how many women who were working during the war did in fact act like this. This source is backed up by source B5 (ii) that the behaviour of women became more confident and independent.The way people at home wanted to know about the war was a blessing for the newspaper companies. During the first two years of the war there were more papers sold than before the war. At its peak the Daily Mail were selling approximately twelve hundred thousand papers a year, this was in 1916. This tells us that people were interested in what was happening in the war and wanted to know. However towards the end of the war the sales had dropped down to approximately a million papers in 1918. This may be because people were tired of hearing about the war and wanted it to end. The source gives no indication of why the sales have dropped. One possible reason of the drop in newspaper sales is because of conscription – there would be fewer men to buy papers.In conclusion to the sources I have looked at it is obvious that people’s lives were affected during the war. The main people who felt the impact of the war most heavily were the middle classes, the women in there families may have to go out to work for the first time. These jobs could be in factories or offices. A benefit for the women who did begin to work was that they had some independence and were able to go out to pubs and restraints on there own. However the women who were working in factories were not aware of the dangers there were with working with explosives, there is obviously the chance of one exploding but there was the added danger of breathing in large amounts of toxic gases over long periods of time.

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