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Effects Of War On Civilians Essay


Word count: Li Chun Ho (Alvin)Date: 01/10/2011 IB History HLEssay Question: Assess the effects on the civilian population in one European country during WWI.1As World War One was seen as a war of attrition, logistics were proved crucial, that came at a cost tocivilians back at home. In Great Britain, schemes and bills were passed that eventually dictated manto army conscription, such as the Compulsory Military Service Bill. The loss of civilian population wasminimal; however there were great losses of men. As the majority of men were conscripted, thisexpanded the social rights of women, enabling them to work at many positions they could not hadbefore

. This to some extent revolutionized women’s position in society.

Not only did jobs raise theirstatuses, political reform enabled householders to vote as well. The demands of war materialsincluding coal and iron furthered British industrial decline given the backward technology andcompetition she faced.

On the domestic financial aspect, Britain’s intense participation in the war

against Germany made her heavily indebted to the United States, which would later instigate greatpost-war effects domestically. These financial implications lowered the standards of living at home,at the cost of raising food prices and disdaining wage costs.

Britain’s participation in the war with the Allies rose from the “moral obligation” agreement of the

Entente Cordial when Germany declared war on France. The British thought its British ExpeditionaryForce would be comparable with the French army in size, however size became to a larger short-coming when war progressed. By 1915, losses in the British army prompted the government toencourage men to conscript, instead of relying on voluntary conscription under the Derby Scheme.The Scheme encouraged men to enlist voluntarily or attest and come forward when needed. Thisfollowed the raising of the age restriction from 38 to 40. When the effect still was undesirable, theCompulsory Military Service Bill was introduced in January 1916, enforcing the need of single menages between 18 and 41 to call up apart from workers that contributed to war efforts such asmining.With the majority of able working men sent to war, this left many vacancies in jobs for women.Encouraged and persuaded by propaganda, many women were made to believe it was patriotic andself-fulfilling to help their country. These jobs expanded their impact on war efforts, including themanufacturing of munitions, joining the British Air Force and mechanics team, apart from being

nurses. The Women’s Land Army was formed in an effort to increase agricultural production. As the

war materialized, 44,000 women were surveyed; finding out 68% of them changed jobs since theoutbreak of war, many suggesting they would not turn back to domestic work. However, there weremany ethical and discriminatory shortcomings with employing women. Women had lower salariesthan men, and there was no significant raise during the war. Furthermore, changes were made sotheir salaries were lower because their jobs were broken down into different processes whichundermined the costs. Only did national factories administered by the Ministry of Munitions paidwomen as much as they did to men.

Their dissatisfaction encouraged them to join the women’s

trade union groups, whose membership numbers rose from 350,000 at the start of war to over amillion by the end of war.Political reforms in UK meant that women had greater rights. This was a result of growing tradeunions and protests, which expressed their anger on low wages. The Representation of the PeopleAct (1918) gave women greater autonomy, enabling those who were householders or married tohouseholders over the age of 30 to vote. Although women


voting rights were still

lower than men’s

during the war, they would have equal rights later in 1928.

The Effect Of World War I On Civilians

The Effect of World War I on Civilians

World War one was a military conflict which took place between 1914
and 1918. It involved many European countries as well as America and
other countries around the world. This war was one of the most violent
and destructive in European history.

World War I was the first total war. Once the war began, the countries
involved mobilized their entire populations and economic resources to
achieve victory on the battlefield. The term home front, which was
widely employed for the first time during World War I, perfectly
symbolized this new concept of a war in which the civilian population
behind the lines was directly and critically involved in the war

When war broke out in during 1914, Britain only had a small
professional army - it needed a large one quickly. The government
launched a huge recruitment campaign with posters, leaflets,
recruitment offices in every town and motivating speeches by
politicians and ministers.

Despite the country already having a strong anti-German feeling, the
press strengthened it with regular stories of German atrocities. This
recruitment campaign was highly successful and by 1915 over two
million men had been enlisted in the army.

However, in 1916, numbers started to fall and the demand started to
increase. The government were forced to introduce conscription. This
meant that all men aged 18 to 40 had to register for active service.
These men could be called up at any time to fight for Britain. But in
the end many welcomed the governments taking the control of the
situation and introducing conscription as they thought the volunteer
system was unfair. They thought that not all parts of society were
taking an equal share of the burden. There was a feeling that some
groups were avoiding the war and some of the fittest and strongest men
were not bothered to enlist in the war.

Not everyone welcomed conscription though. Fifty MP's voted against
the introduction of conscription in parliament. Also those who opposed
the war due to religious of political reasons were also against
conscription. It would be against their will to fight so they were
named conscientious objectors and nicknamed 'conchies'. Conchies had
to prove they had a genuine reason for not wanting to fight and
weren't just scared.

Also, in 1914 the government passed the Defence Of the Realm Act
(DORA). It gave the government massive powers to control many aspects
of people's daily lives, this included being able to seize any land or
buildings, to control newspapers and the media and to take over any
industries which were important to the war effort. Immediately after
introducing DORA the government took over the coal mining industry so
that the money was going towards the war rather than private owners.

In 1915, the government...

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