Britain and World War One

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-11-16
  • Publisher: Routledge

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The First World War appears as a fault line in Britain#xE2;#xAC;"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. Air raids brought violence and destruction to British homesteads; women took on jobs previously held by men; and the King grew vegetables in the gardens of Buckingham Palace. These momentous events were the source of profound and radical change in British society; and yet, at the same time, the conflict left long-standing institutions and social attitudes largely untouched. The First World War shook Britain to the core, but remarkably, post-Armistice Britain still retained traces of an earlier outlook and a Victorian consciousness. It is this tension between the forces of change and the forces of tradition that is examined in this book. In chapters looking at industry and the economy, the government in operation during the war, women#xE2;#xAC;"s work, farming, popular culture and propaganda, Alan G.V. Simmonds focuses on the war as a civilian rather than a military experience, interpreting the military dimension as a background for examining the conflict as a political, social and cultural experience. Including key primary documents, personal anecdotes, testimonies and illustrations, a timeline of major events and a key readings section, this is an essential book for all students of the first world war.

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