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War and the transformation of British society c1903–28

Key Topic 1: The Liberals, votes for women and social reform

The activities of the women’s societies and the reaction of the authorities.
Children’s welfare measures, old age pensions.
Labour Exchanges 1909, the National Insurance Act 1911.

Key Topic 2: The part played by the British on the Western Front

The BEF and 1914.
Britain’s contribution to the Western Front 1915–17.
The end of the war.

Key Topic 3: The home front and social change

DORA, censorship and propaganda.
Recruitment and rationing.
The part played by women.

Key Topic 4: Economic and social change 1918–28

The changing role of women 1918–28.
Industrial unrest 1918–27.
The General Strike of 1926.

Rationing and Recruitment


• The government tried to encourage people to save food due to the food shortages.
• The Women’s Land Army helped to grow food in the countryside.
• Public parks were taken over for the growing of vegetable.
• In 1918 the rationing of foods such as sugar, butter and beef was introduced.
• People were issued with ration books with coupons in them that they had to use every time they bought food.


• Patriotism spread across the whole of the country when war was declared.
• Many people were tricked into volunteering through government propaganda.
• In 1914 Britain had a volunteer army and millions signed up to join the army.
• Volunteers feared the war would be over by Christmas and they might miss the “action” if they did not volunteer early.
• Those who volunteered with friends could serve with them in Pal Regiments.
• Those who did not join the army were branded cowards and given white feathers from women.
• By 1916 over two million men had been recruited into the armed forces.
• By 1916 the government was forced to introduce conscription as volunteers numbers fell, as conditions in the trenches became well known.
• The government demanded all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 41 to join the armed forces.
• Those who refused to fight on moral grounds were called conscientious objectors and they were put in prison or worked as medical stretcher-bearers.




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