The First World War appears as a fault line in Britain’s twentieth-century history. Between August 1914 and November 1918 the titanic struggle against Imperial Germany and her allies consumed more people, more money and more resources than any other conflict Britain had hitherto experienced. For the first time, it opened up a Home Front that stretched into all parts of the British polity, society and culture, touching the lives of every citizen regardless of age, gender and class. Even vegetables were grown in the gardens of Buckingham Palace.
Britain and World War One throws attention on these civilians who fought the war on the Home Front. Harnessing recent scholarship, and drawing on original documents, oral testimony and historical texts, this book casts a fresh look over different aspects of British society during the four long years of war. It revisits the early war enthusiasm and the making of Kitchener’s new armies; the emotive debates over conscription; the relationships between politics, government and popular opinion; women working in wartime industries; the popular experience of war and the question of social change.
The book also explores areas of wartime Britain overlooked by recent histories, including the impact of the war on rural society; the mobilization of industry, and the importance of technology, as well as exploring responses to air raids, food and housing shortages; the challenges to traditional social and sexual mores and wartime culture. Britain and World War One is an essential book for all students and interested lay readers of the First World War.
Introduction. 1. Summer’s end 2. For King and Country 3. The industry of conflict 4. The eclipse of party government 5. Workplace Women 6. Society, family and welfare 7. Food, farming and rural society 8. A question of propaganda 9. War Culture 10. After rejoicing. Land Girls. Manpower. National Kitchens. Drink. Sex and Morality.