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The Impact Of World War One On The Homefront Social, Political And Economic Impacts.

1561 words - 6 pages

The First World War impacted significantly on the homefronts of the participating nations in many different social, political and economic areas. There was a widespread restructuring of primary industry with a large orientation towards militarism. There was massive political change where new systems of power were introduced that gave governments a range of new powers including the control over industry. The civilian population had severe restrictions placed upon their rights and liberties due to the necessities that total war required.The scale of the war forced all sectors of society to change and adapt to the growing scale of the war. In 1914 the British government believed that the war would be a brief one and as a result there was little done to prepare for the eventuality of the war stretching out over as long a period of time as it did. As the war progressed and no major gains were made by either side it became clear that there would need to be a much greater war effort. In order to cope with the massive logistical effort required to keep the war going the governments introduced new laws and legislation to improve output, efficiency and control.The Defence of the Realm Act that the British government introduced gave the government almost unlimited ability to control and regulate life for the citizens of Britain. It allowed for the censorship of anything deemed potentially damaging or could undermine the loyalty to the King, the process of recruitment, or economic confidence. Along with this the Munitions Of War Act was brought in making labour striking illegal in order to keep a smooth output of produce. There were masses of new taxes introduced to pay for the huge war costs. Income taxes were raised by over 20 percent by the end of the war, bank loans went up to help increase revenue and the majority of wages were lowered. As the war went on the agricultural resources of the allies began to get into short supply and as a result these food shortages were managed with limitations on the import, production and distribution of foods with sugar being banned in sweets in 1916 as it was needed elsewhere. Voluntary rationing on milk, sugar, tea and meat began in 1916 and became compulsory after April 1918As a result prices for produce grown by farmers skyrocketed. Many farmers would sell their produce to the highest bidder meaning that the working class was the worst off. By 1917 the population was tiring of the war and its seeming lack of progress. The American resources that were provided at cost to the allies were a significant advantage for the allies as they could receive supplies from an outside source while they had blockades set up all around Germany, its allies and their ports.In Germany a similar system to the one employed in Britain. It was achieved by the creation of a German supreme war office, known as the Kriegsant, which brought in new laws similar to the British. The government gained much larger control over the population and as...

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