Total war and its social and economic impact on civilians in Britain and Germany

Trade and industry became vital to the war effort

The role of the Government became hugely important

Germany

Trade and industry

  • Germany was dependant on imports of raw materials
    • Production was not sufficient for a long war in hell
    • Problems were partly overcome by the production of synthetics
    • There was a heavy dependence on good harvests
      • In 1915 the heavy rains, that bogged down the western front, destroyed crops and ruined the predicted good harvests

    • Labour shortages led to the introduction of directed labour
      • Working conditions deteriorated
        • Hours of work increased
        • Wages fell and prices roses
    • Workers discontent increased:
      • In May 1916 there were strikes in munitions factories that led to increased government intervention
      • Strikers were sent to the battle front
    • War debt increased
      • The war was being paid for with loans and not taxes
    • The allied blockade seriously damaged German trade

Politics

  • The war had initial Reichstag support
  • Even the SPD was pro-war
  • The Reichstag demanded political reform
  • The Reichstags importance increased
    • The growing Vatherland Parti demanded territorial acquisitions in the east

  • Chancellor Bethmeann Hollweg resigned in July 1917
    • Annesationists and militarists dominated the government
    • During 1917-18 Ludendorff was virtually the dictator of Germany

Social changes
  • The importance of women in the workforce grew
    • Germany’s recruitment of female workers was the most widespread and efficient among the combatant countries
      • Women worked in steelworks and mines
      • Discontent rose because of the falling standard of living
        • In the winter of 1916-17 there were power and fuel shortages and severe food shortages
          • There were no potatoes so potato peelings were eaten
  • In October 1916, 30 000 attended a peace demonstration
  • In April 1917, 300 000 struck in Berlin
  • In January 1918, 500 000 struck in Berlin
    • Political demands were made
    • In November 1918 the Kaiser was forced to abdicate
      • A republican parliamentary government was established
        • Led by the SPD

Role of the Government
  • The role of the government increased
  • A War Raw Materials Department was created
    • Falling imports meant shortages in steel production and agricultural fertilisers
    • Directed labour was introduced
      • A Supreme War Office (Kriegsant) controlled civilian labour, manufacturing and transport
      • Under a Patriotic Auxiliary Service Law men aged 17-60 were liable to be called up for labour service
      • Rationing began in 1916 under a War Food Office
        • There were 258 laws to control supply and distribution of essential supplies
        • Game (rabbits, deer, salmon, etc.) was exempt – therefore city workers were more effected than landowners
        • Censorship was complete
          • The war was considered “defensive”
          • Conscription was an accepted German tradition
          • A propaganda “Hate” campaign against Britain was launched
          • Political repression continued and increased

Britain

Trade and industry

  • At first it was still business as usual
  • Working conditions and wages soon declined
  • Hours of labour were increased
    • This lead to industrial disputes: after the welsh coal miners strike in 1915 strikes were banned
  • The ministry of munitions created more effective use if resources
  • Imports fell
    • As a result food shortages occurred
    • Costs rose 110% during 1914-18
  • Labour shortages in agriculture necessitated government intervention
  • Exports to Canada, India and China declined
  • Britain became in debt to the USA
    • In 1918 with social discontent increasing, PM Lloyd George refused to send troops to Russia to fight the Bolsheviks

Politics
  • In May 1915 the liberal prime minister Asquith created a coalition government of three major political parties
    • This was in response to the need for government control of both the home and battle fronts
  • In December 1916 Asquith resigned after defeats on the Western Front, rebellion in Ireland and the death of Kitchener (the minister for war)
    • Lloyd George became the new prime minister and remained so until the end of the war


Role of the government

  • The role of the government increased
    • To control industry a ministry of munitions was created in 1915
    • It took over key areas and established nation factories
  • Industrial controls were increased
    • Strikes were forbidden
    • There was directed labour
  • POW’s, home defence, women (only 35, 000 involved)
  • Controls on work and production were introduced
  • Rationing was introduced in 1916
    • For milk tea sugar and bread
    • Brothels rationed viagra as it became an alternative painkiller
  • Under the Defence Of the Realm Act (DORA), the mail and newspapers were censored
  • Propaganda promoted recruitment, war loans and war work
  • Beer-strength public houses were closed mid-afternoon
  • Taxation was increased
    • Death duties and super tax of income over 8000 pounds
  • With casualties in December 1915 numbering 380, 000 conscription was introduced in 1916 in the belief that recruitment figures were falling
    • Many workers in “reserved” occupations were exempt
Social changes
  • Potatoes became a source of currency in Ireland due to economic instability
  • The importance of women in the workforce grew
    • One million were employed in munitions and others in a variety of “male” occupations as blacksmiths, bus conductors, bank clerks etc
  • There were changes in clothing and social habits
    • Eg, smoking in public
  • As recognition of their war effort women over the age of 30 were given the vote in 1918
  • Anti-German feelings rose
  • Holidays and social activities declined
  • Class barriers were ignored
    • Middle class women worked in factories
  • The super tax slightly reduced the gap between the rich and the poor


helpful links:

http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/total_war.htm (total war in Britain NOT Germany)
http://wwi.wikispaces.com/The+home+fronts+in+Britain+and+Germany (this is another wiki page with the same syllabus dot points so its helpful elsewhere as well, thank me later gentlemen)







·Ministry of Munitions est. 1915.
  • 1915 shell scandal from Sir John French at battle of Neuve Champange
  • Co-ordination and boosting of shell production supported strongly by PM Lloyd George
·Ministry of Food
  • Rationing
  • Propaganda
    • “Save two thick slices of bread each day and defeat the U Boat” – 1917 MoF poster
  • Food prices rose by 110%
Germany
  • Military Government
    • War Materials Department (KRA) à until 1916 Verdun and Somme strain resources
  • Labour service, rationing
  • Identification of a British POW escapee from sandwiches white bread in 1916
  • Food prices rose 460%
  • Social protests 1918: 1.5 million people went on strike
    • Wilhelm abdicated
  • Economic change – no more free market, trade limited


Total war and impact:



  • All resources directed to war leading to shortages in food at home front
  • Mass industrialisation, the process of governments taking over factories under DORA
    • Notoriously munitions factories
    • “Pal’s Forces” wiped out entire communities
      • Impacted communities severely
      • The death of soldiers lead to the population being dominated by women
        • +760, 000 Britons lost their lives in WWI


Social & Economic changes
  • Citizens as targets and workers
  • Rejection of Victorian values
    • More prominent working class, master/servant relationship
  • “There are only two divisions in the world today: humans and Germans” – Rudyard Kipling
  • Welsh miners’ strike (1915), Lloyd George negotiates for lower employer profits and workers’ rights to boost production
    • Formation of unions
  • Taxation up to 8000 pounds
  • Women workers (see below)
  • Formation of unions

Impact of War on Women: Britain

Traditional Role

-The propaganda in Britain (and successfully so) urged women to stay at home and hold the fort whilst urging their husbands into battle

New Roles

- Women were forced to take on traditional male roles to support the war of attrition and help mobilise all of society’s resources
- By March 1914, officials (board of trade) saw the mass employment of women to be the only way to ensure the continuation of some industries (MORE IMPORTANTLY TO ENSURE THAT WAR SUPPLIES WERE MET)
- Classes were ignored: middle-class women worked in factories.
Women as a % of workers in various occupations
1914
1918
1920
Industry
26 %
35%
27%
Commerce
27%
53%
40%
Agriculture
9
14
10
Transport
2
12
4
All workers
24
37
28
Transport (amount employed)
18000
117000
+540%
external image rosie1.jpg

- By Nov 1918 there were 7mil+ employed in ‘war work’

Munitions Workers (June 1915, munitions act)

- Largest new employer of women (ministry of women’s munitions workers)
- Compared to other industry during the war period, female munitions workers were well compensated for this relatively dangerous
- Women could earn between 1pound and 5pound per week
- close to 200mil killed in factory explosions
- toxic jaundice (from TNT) caused close to 106 deaths between 1916-18

Women in Uniform

Nursing

- By Nov 1918 around 23 029 nurses in the “nursing service” and 11000 in the British red cross, St Johns ambulance association, Queen Alexandria’s imperial nursing service by 1918.
- Nurses who served in the war zones were subject to the same dangers as soldiers.

VAD

- Middle, upper class women and girls served in the ‘voluntary aid detachments,
74000 nurses by Aug 1914
- These “amateurs”, often resented by professional nurses, tented to the unexpected flood of wounded coming in from Belgium and France
- Were activated to war zones in 1915

Women’s Land Army

- Beginning in 1916 women were attracted to work on the land (forestry, agriculture and foliage) for less that 1pound a day
- Worked 10-12 hour days, usually for a 6-12 month term
By 1917 there were 260 000 women serving on the land

Women’s Armed Forces

- By Nov 1918, 57 000 had served in QMWAAC
- Women drove ambulances, operated food canteens, were cooks, telegraphists, telephonists, drivers and mechanics, etc.
- Hours and discipline was strict and living conditions and facilities barely adequate
In Nov 1917 and Apr 1918 the Women’s Royal naval service and Women’s Royal air force were established (respectively)
- Working as cooks, clerks, fitters (as in the army corps) which were previously considered too hard for women
- By 1918, 6000 women were serving in the navy and 9000 served in the air force.

The Impact on Women’s Lives


  • Different impacts upon different social classes
    • Young working class à male working class roles
      • Social and economic independence
    • Middle and upper class à volunteer service work
      • Were already relatively comfortable
  • Women munitions workers worked long hours
    • Good wages à Independence and money à unprecedented social choices
  • New responsibilities and independence redefined acceptable behaviour of women
    • No need for escorts, could smoke in public etc.
  • Encouraged romance and leisure activity à proliferating nightclubs à sexual freedom
    • Between 1914 and 1918 there was a 30% increase in illegitimate births
  • Fashion changes
    • Due to workplace changes and shortages of fabric
      • Short skirts
      • Trousers
      • Brassiere replaced Corset

A Lasting Impact?

- To put it simply, women over 30 were given the vote in 1918. It was seen as a 'step in the right direction for women', but only a small step.
·Retained some social independence
oWorking women hurt in economic hardship
·Little change in crucial employment
oMales returned to majority of original jobs
oSome women retained work e.g. secretaries
oStill underpaid, menial work
·Political change
o1918 Representation of the People Act à women could vote
§“How could we have carried on the war without them?” – Lord Asquith à suggests it was a reward
§Right to vote only given to householders over 30
§Still few women in parliament
·“The cage door had been opened and the canary refused to fly” – Germaine Greer

Recruitment, conscription, censorship and propaganda in Britain and Germany
Recruitment in Britain
  • Britain: huge enthusiasm. Wanning, casualties
  • Kaiser: “contemptible little army”
  • Lord Kitchener stirring poster “Your country needs YOU”
  • Britain’s army relatively small to its counterpart Germany due to recruitment voluntary based.
  • Britain’s army relatively small to its counterpart Germany due to recruitment voluntary based.
    • By September 1914, 33 000 people volunteering each day.
    • 2.6 million volunteers 1914-1918
  • As war dragged on more volunteers were increasingly needed
  • The manpower demands of the Western Front could not be maintained through voluntary recruitment
  • This led to the 'Pals' recruitment policy
    • Soli
Conscription in Britain
·Military Service Act 1916 à 1st time in British history
¡2.3 million men conscripted 1916-1918
·22.1% of Britain’s adult male population served in Army

Recruitment and Conscription in Germany
·Long history of military service - Bismark
·Core of professional troops, 3.8 million reserves called up in 1st year
·13.3 million German men served in war – 41.5% of population

Censorship and Propaganda in Britain
Two-fold: influence foreign opinion and domestic opinion
·British Government made propaganda moves as soon as war broke out
¡2.5 million books published by British propagandists by June 1915
·Phases: 1914 – 1916 vilifying enemies and victims
¡German invasion of Belgium, spearing baby
·1917 onwards: vision of postwar world
·Britain better at propaganda democratic system of governance. Newspapers ushc as the times were in support and effectively censored themselves
·Censorship - DORA introduced in August 1914 suspended civil liberties and gave crown complete control over spread of reports etc.
¡Repress pacifist and Irish nationalist sentiments

Censorship and Propaganda in Germany
·Military-run government
¡Superior censorship – law of 1851
¡2000 rules imposing censorship
ØBan on foreign films
ØClosed down publications that breached rules
·Nationalistic propaganda
¡Germany in the sun
¡Superior German troops



Changing Attitudes
Britain – Social changes

  • The importance of women in the workforce grew
    • One million were employed in munitions and others in a variety of “male” occupations as blacksmiths, bus conductors, bank clerks, etc.
    • There were changes in clothing and social habits
      • E.g. smoking in public
      • As recognition of their war effort women over the age of 30 were given the vote in 1918
      • Anti-German feelings rose
      • Holidays and social activities declined
      • Class barriers were ignored
        • Middle class women worked in factories
        • The super tax slightly reduced the gap between the rich and the poor





Germany – Social changes

  • The importance of women in the workforce grew
    • Germany’s recruitment of female workers was the most widespread and efficient among the combatant countries
      • Women worked in steelworks and mines
      • Discontent rose because of the falling standard of living
        • In the winter of 1916-17 there were power and fuel shortages and severe food shortages
          • There were no potatoes so potato peelings were eaten
  • In October 1916, 30 000 attended a peace demonstration
  • In April 1917, 300 000 struck in Berlin
  • In January 1918, 500 000 struck in Berlin
    • Political demands were made
    • In November 1918 the Kaiser was forced to abdicate
      • A republican parliamentary government was established
        • Led by the SPD