Why British Men Enlisted In The British Army In 1914

868 words - 3 pages

Why British Men Enlisted in the British Army in 1914

When Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, Europe erupted. The
Austro-Hungarian Empire invaded Serbia; Russia sends troops to its
borders with Austria and Hungary. Germany declares war on Russia and
France and marches into Belgium and Britain declares war with Germany
and her allies. Although Britain already had a well-trained
professional army, it was far too small to be able to stand a chance
against the huge German army that was more than three times its size.
As a result of this Lord Kitchener immediately went on a recruiting
campaign calling on all men aged between 19 and 30 to enlist in the
British Army. There was a huge response, during August and September
1914 736,000 Britons volunteered for the army. In this essay, I will
explore the reasons why the response was so successful at the start of
the war.

The majority of men went out to fight out of a sense of patriotism,
honour and duty. They loved their King and country to the extent that
they felt it was worth dying for. They thought it was a matter of
honour and duty to fight for the British Empire if a foreign force
threatened it.

Propaganda helped enforce the British portrayal the Germans as evil
and sadistic. Every single atrocity that the Germans committed was
reported at home. When an American passenger ship was sunk by German
u-boats many people were shocked, their idea of war was something that
only involved soldiers not civilians or traders. This inspired people
to volunteer in the hope of finding a way of getting revenge. Things
that happened in industrial cities like Scarborough, where German hot
air balloons called Zeppelins made bombing raids against civilians in
the hope of disrupting production of arms and munitions. Posters were
very effective and created a picture of Germans who would run their
bayonets through women and rape them.

Lord Derby had the idea of 'pals battalions', these were battalions of
people who volunteered to join the army in the same area. This scheme
inspired local and civic pride, this meant that...

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