Domestic impact of war: society and culture

Domestic impact of war: society and culture

Impact on People’s Lives

  • Increased demand for labour: Especially in munitions factories and on the home front, leading to more women entering the workforce.
  • Rationing: Essentials like food and coal were rationed because of the naval blockade and the needs of the army.
  • “Dora” (Defence of the Realm Act): This law gave the government great power to control people’s lives. It affected pubs’ opening hours, spying was made a criminal offence, and much more.
  • High casualty rates: Many families lost sons, husbands, or fathers. There was also a high number of injured veterans, which impacted society greatly.
  • Changes in class relations: The war led to changes in the class structure as working class people moved into traditionally middle-class jobs.

Changes to Culture

  • War influence on art: Artists reacted to the horrors of war, leading to powerful war art.
  • War poetry: Poetry became a vehicle for expressing the grim reality of the war.
  • Changing values and attitudes: The war led to perceptible shifts in public opinion regarding empires, war, and nationalism.

Government Policy Changes

  • Increase in Government power: The government took control of industry for the war effort.
  • Income Tax increased: To pay for the war effort, income tax was increased.
  • Lloyd George’s ‘Homes fit for Heroes’: Post-war, the government committed to large-scale housing reform in response to widespread discontent.
  • Employment policies: After the war, returning soldiers needed jobs and the government introduced policies to support them.

Impact on Women

  • Shift in traditional gender roles: A large number of women worked in factories and other traditionally male domains during the war.
  • Women’s Suffrage: The work women did during war led to increased public support for women’s suffrage and they gained the vote in 1918.
  • Return to domestic life: Post-war, many women were expected to return to traditional roles and careers, leading to discontent and cultural shifts.