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Lecture 7

HIS349 Lecture 7.docx

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Department
History
Course
HIS102Y1
Professor
Sarah Amato
Semester
Fall

Description
Lecture 7 Oct 25 The First World War Keywords: -Horatio Herbert Kitchener (Lord Kitchener), 1850-1916 -Volunteers -Conscripts -David Lloyd George 1863-1945, leads wartime coalition between 1916 and 1922 -Military Service Act 1916 -Conscientious Objectors -Trench Warfare -The Somme July 1916 -General Haig -modern weaponry: gas, tank, airplane, submarine -homefront vs. frontline -white feather campaign -dilution (women in factories) 1916, 1917 -Trench poets -modern poets; Seigfried Sassoon 1886-1967, Wilfred Owen -Shellshock and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf 1925 -Watershed? Three Interpretations of WWI 1. Debate about the battles; notion that WWI was characterized by the colossal incompetences of the generals, leading to war of attrition, particularly on western front and the general disaster of the war (causing 3/4 of a million dead in Britain alone); notion of senseless slaughter 2. Instability WWI creates; downfall to certain extent of Victorian liberalism occurring in WWI, and to a certain extent, the first really marked government interference in the economy to transition into a war time economy; political instability, decline of liberal party, government interference in economy 3. Idea that the war marked a watershed; realm of European culture in particular, war itself marked a rupture, brought about an end to the Victorian ethos and values and ushered in all that we think about as modernity; war as birth of modernism and 20th century cynicism June 28, 1914 with assassination of archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo; system of entangled alliances draw Britain into war; Germany, and neutrality of Belgium -when war was declared it was viewed as a potentially cathartic experience, as a good cleansing thing; resolve the kinds of international crises plaguing Europe over the past decades; sense of competition between European powers brought to a head in WWI, hope that conflict would be resolved with war -no notion of future devastation and length of war; Victorians see as war of duty, patriotism and result in national cleansing -celebrated as war of duty and patriotism, fairly easy in initial stages of the war to get volunteers; between August 1914 and December 1914, on average, 300,000 men enlisted voluntarily each month Horatio Herbert Kitchener - first general in charge of early WWI battles (Lord Kitchener 1850-1916) -hero of the Boer War, great war hero, proper person to rally the British population to the cause of war (poster, 'you are the man I want') -Kitchener was not a great tactician; Asquith, PM at the time; he is a great poster and not a great man -propaganda used as a tool to bring people into the war effort; tactic was shaming (poster, 'daddy what did you do in the great war?') -early 1915 after huge conscripts December 1914, there were early fears that the number of volunteers would dry up; government began to consider conscription; no tradition of conscription in Britain, considered something of a continental habit i.e. used in France in earlier wars, something of a hard sell in Britain; in general, by 1915 the war effort was not going well, Britain plagued with a number of problems-shortage of man power; volunteers for the war effort, as more people volunteered for the war, there was a shortage of labour in the factories -second problem, widespread perception of a shortage of munitions, shells in particular; had to do with nature of the war that by 1915 it was at a stand still on the Western front; huge amount of munitions being expanded each day, fear that production was not keeping up with demand David Lloyd George 1863-1945 and Military Services Act -third problem, David Lloyd George (Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time) in particular was concerned with wartime production levels and conscription of methods of production and raw material being syphoned into the war effort; he is very effective at both negotiating with key businessmen and with key labour unionists to begin to effectively control British economy, bring it under government control, and mobilize it for the war -dilution of labour; employment of women and unskilled labourers in factories - due to labour shortage -several crises provoke instability within the liberal government and lead to in-fighting within the liberal cabinet -Asquith marginalized, formation of coalition under David Lloyd George; George becomes head of the war cabinet by 1916; successfully bypasses parliament for the duration of the war to run in the most efficient way the war effort -enact piece of legislation which changes radically the war effort; conscription act, The Military Service Act 1916; unmarried men between 18 and 51 subject to conscription -government then makes an effort to mobilize the man power, takes a harsh view against conscientious objectors; important when it comes to the legacy of WWI, as some of them left behind writings which have influenced our views on WWI; individuals who for various reason i.e. religion, ideology, rejected to participation in the fighting of the war; some of them participated in the war effort through indirect means i.e. factory work, red cross -conscientious objector left deliberately vague in legislation from the government in that period; they were increasingly dealt with on a case by case basis by individual tribunals who judged each case; could have some objectors dealt with harshly i.e. jail time, others like famous war poets treated to extreme psychological treatments by psychiatrists, consid
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