HIST 2040 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Structural Adjustment, Industrial Warfare, Total War

11 views5 pages
10 Aug 2016
Modern Warfare October 29th, 2015
War and the People: The Social Impact of Total War – page #280-302:
Twice in this century European societies have been engulfed by the tidal wave of total war
Every region and every social group was affected by the unprecedented dislocation and
destruction of industrial warfare
For contemporaries, it often seemed as if the war had changed everything for one thing,
wartime memories lived on, with a vibrancy and vigor unmatched by peacetime recollections
Moreover, the wars appeared to be not just the source of powerful personal experience but
also major turning-points in the collective life of the societies which waged them
It is surprising to discover, however, that historians have recently begun to be impressed
more by the degree of similarity between pre- and post-war societies than by change
And they argue that where significant social change took place it was not the product of war
but part of long-term processes originating ultimately in peacetime society
Societies at War:
Mobilizing Society:
During the two world wars the human and material resources of the European powers were
mobilized with unparalleled intensity and comprehensiveness
The most obvious manifestation was the side of the military call-up enrolment on this scale
was accompanied by massive occupational mobility; huge retaining programmes were
carried out to equip yesterday’s garment workers to become the munitions producer of
And new reserves of labour needed to be tapped, which meant above all the incorporation of
female labour into sectors of the economy previously regarded as male bastions
contemporaries found this perhaps the most dramatic social change wrought by war
During the Second World War such occupational changes were only one factor in the truly
massive levels of population mobility there were the millions of families evacuated from
cities subject to bombing raids; and there was a huge number of people in eastern Europe
thrown into flight by the advancing front line
In the process of this massive mobilization, the trenches and frontiers of social and economic
life were moved or opened up or sometimes obliterated altogether between town and
country, between one economic sector and another, between the social classes, between
skilled and unskilled, and between the sexes
Disruption to existing trade patterns and new national priorities meant that some industries
were deprived of labour or raw materials whilst other sectors rapidly expanded
Changes were required to customary work procedures and demarcation lines as previously
skilled occupations were offered to hastily trained unskilled or semi-skilled workers
Gender barriers were dropped and roles redefined as women upped tools in hallowed halls of
male manual labour
Evacuated working-class children were placed with middle-class mums; upper-class
volunteers in the army found themselves side by side with the great unwashed
And almost everywhere the boundary line between state and society was redrawn after all,
wartime mobilization entailed not just dislocation and change to the lives of millions of people,
but also the adoption by the state of powers and responsibilities previously left with the
individual or private groups within society
The crucial prerequisite of mobilization on this scale was the competence, size, and authority
of modern bureaucracies it was no easy task, for instance, to identify and enlist army
reserves on the scale required, to transport them to the front, and to ensure that military
demands were balanced against those of industry and agriculture
Though states went into the Second World War with a far greater grasp of the requirements
of total war, here too there was a gradual evolution and it was only in 1942 that the war
economy was fully established
Apart from the need to organize the military call-up and to ration scarce labour, it was the
disruption war brought to foreign trade which was often most influential in initially forcing the
state to extend its powers over the economy governments found themselves involved in
exercising import and export controls, rationing scarce materials, and controlling price and
Unlock document

This preview shows pages 1-2 of the document.
Unlock all 5 pages and 3 million more documents.

Already have an account? Log in
Modern Warfare October 29th, 2015
They withheld raw materials and extracted labour from consumer goods industries and other
inessential civilian sectors and diverted those resources to the war effort
They also became heavily involved in promoting invasion whether to achieve most effective
use of scarce resources, to find substituted for missing raw materials, or to surpass the
enemy’s weapons technology
Radar, sonar, jet engines, long-range heavy aircraft, nuclear weaponry, synthetic oil and
rubber, penicillin, synthetic quinine, and DDT were all developed in the course of the Second
World War
Thus from reluctant beginnings both wars saw a transition to what has been called the
‘exuberance of the state a great many proposals emerged, from both wartime state
administration and other sources, for extensive state involvement in peacetime
Conflict and Corporatism:
Although the scale of total war was predicated upon the new capacity of the modern state, in
fact the civil services of the combatant nations were rarely in a position to run society and
economy on their own
In a number of countries during the First World War the army itself assumed many direct civil
administrative responsibilities, in lieu of a functioning civil service
During the Second World War, however, all the principal combatant nations had far more
powerful state governments, denying the army a serious autonomous role
In almost all cases, the state’s ability to manage the economy depended on close links with
business everywhere except the Soviet Union, both wars but particularly the Second World
War engendered new forms of corporatist cooperation between civil servant and
The pattern in the Second World War was in some ways similar, though more uneven in the
case of the totalitarian states in particular, labour had already been so powerfully suppressed
that it no longer figured as an organized group
War and Welfare:
In many combatant nations, the First World War saw the state implementing or planning
extensive new measured in the field of welfare and social policy
The sacrifices by the population on the battle and home front put moral pressure on the state
to ensure a just distribution of resources all the more so given the diminishing share of the
cake available for civilian consumption as a whole
Wartime also confronted the state with the needs of the family this was partly because new
kinds of family support were required to make it possible and attractive for women to work or
to provide support when men were away to the front
States thus introduced crèches to take responsibility for children off working mothers they
provided free lunchtime meals for workers and schoolchildren
Ration cards, which were issued on the basis of perceived need, contained a strongly
redistributive element provided they were supported by a functioning allocative system
Rent controls were introduced during the war to alleviate the hardships suffered by soldiers’
Maternity benefits and family income supplements were provided to compensate for the
missing soldier’s wage
Alongside the implementation of such practical measures, wartime also saw the formulation
of ambitious plans or position papers on the course of the future social policy
War, Ideology, and Rethinking Society:
So far the main explanation offered for wartime institutional and policy changes had been the
demands of mobilization
However, in many instances the issues of allegiance and identity thrown up by war war’s
unparalleled capacity for forcing individuals and groups to take sides were just as potent a
source of change
Unlock document

This preview shows pages 1-2 of the document.
Unlock all 5 pages and 3 million more documents.

Already have an account? Log in

Get access

$10 USD/m
Billed $120 USD annually
Homework Help
Class Notes
Textbook Notes
40 Verified Answers
Study Guides
1 Booster Class
$8 USD/m
Billed $96 USD annually
Homework Help
Class Notes
Textbook Notes
30 Verified Answers
Study Guides
1 Booster Class