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How Did World War One Effect The British Civilian Population?

Title explains itself.

World War I began on July 28, 1914, when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. This seemingly small conflict between two countries spread rapidly: soon, Germany, Russia, Great Britain, and France were all drawn into the war, largely because they were involved in treaties that obligated them to defend certain other nations. Western and eastern fronts quickly opened along the borders of Germany and Austria-Hungary. World War 1 affected the British civilian population in many ways; firstly due to the German U Boat campaigns many British merchant ships were sunk, this made the British Government introduce rationing. During world war 1 the women were effected, as there was a change of society for them. This meant that women could now get more jobs than the limited amount that they had before, and they could also get degrees. One of the main affects on the British civilian population was the high amount of deaths from zeppelin attacks in 1914-1917. Overall during the war there were two thousand British civilians were killed by enemy raids- rather fewer tan the sixty six thousand who were to be killed in the Second World War.

In World War 1 the British government thought of the idea of rationing, it was made to stop the British population from starving. The idea of rationing food was afraid of being highly unpopular and that it would sustain the rumor of the German U-boat campaign succeeding. In April 1917 the U-Boats sank over 370 merchant ships carrying supplies. One in every four merchant ships leaving a British port was being sunk. Due to these high figures off food loss, rationing had to take place or Britain would go to a point of starvation. When rationing was first introduced the government was encouraging voluntary measures such as rowing more food in private gardens or going without meat one day of a week. It allowed bakers to save on flour by using flour substitutes instead. This included potatoes. People often would complain about the bread however it was never rationed.

In 1917 the government began to respond to the loss of merchant ships from German U-Boat attacks. The price of a loaf of bread had more than doubled since 1914 and the government ordered a cut of twenty five % in its price. Controlling prices weas certainly new for a British government but the introduction of rationing in 1918 was even more dramatic.

In the first World War the main affect on the civilians were the deaths. These deaths were caused by constant and lethal zeppelin attacks. In December 1914, three German cruisers shelled three English coastal towns. Causing 700 casualties and then in 1915 the Zeppelin airship raids began. Zeppelins were slow, full of flammable gas and carried a small bomb loads. The zeppelin raids in 1915 killed fewer than 150 people and had little effect on morale but they did increase popular hatred of the Germans as “baby killers”. By 1917 the Germans had stopped using Zeppelins but aeroplanes. Aeroplanes were much more effective for bomb raids due to them carrying larger bombs and were used during the day. Once a raid killed one hundred and sixty two people.

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  1. ma names nina

    On November 8, 2009 at 2:16 pm


    dis in quite gid for ma history test a gotta do, much apprecraichin tae hooeva made ihs

  2. Bill T.

    On March 4, 2010 at 9:28 pm


    I was looking for the high number of British civilian deaths, reckoned to be more than 100,000. According to this it was not due to the zeppelin raids which apparently did not take out more than a few hundreds.

    The usual stuff about great benefits for women though,with almost 900,000 men dead in the war, and women from munitions factories suffering physically for the rest of their lives etc the benefits do not look so rosy. The influenza epidemic, spread by the war killed many more thousands.

    I think the articla is OK but suffers from being too pc and therefore lopsided and basically less intelligent than it could have been.

  3. Aladar

    On April 27, 2010 at 12:40 pm


    thanks for the comments im going to be posting more history articles up

  4. NO1

    On March 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm


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