PDA

View Full Version : Impact of WW1 on UK after wars end


racedo
9th Nov 2014, 21:40
Looking at impact on UK population at home of WW1 post conflict.

The impact of Armed forces returning (or not home) is well understood. The impact on how country was run is what looking at.

In years following WW1 the numbers that were previous "in service" to middle and upper classes, circa 1.5 million in 1914 pretty much evaporated as the employment ceased here.............. either through total loss of wealth or all male members dead.

Alcohol laws.............when you could have a drink had changed during war as a result of dud shells and tighter licensing laws which only changed in 1990's.

Many more women were now able to vote........ many MPs who supported this said it was because of impact Women at home had made on war effort but still wasn't full universal suufrage.

The numbers of Women who had either had a husband or loved one killed who did not marry because of the heartbreak of the death.

Wiping out of the aristocracy classes.

Birth of aviation from a folly to something that was useful.

Other examples ?

G-CPTN
9th Nov 2014, 21:42
Paul Brannen: The story of Toc H and the pursuit of peace across Europe - - The Journal (http://www.thejournal.co.uk/north-east-analysis/analysis-news/paul-brannen-story-toc-h-8075719)

fleigle
10th Nov 2014, 02:34
The premature death of my dads dad, I have a picture of him in his brand new army uniform prior to going off to The War, where he was gassed and returned to die 5 years later, my dad was 9.
Us lads that followed all have some of his handsome features, eerily !!!
So sad, and what a waste.
:{:{:{
f

SOPS
10th Nov 2014, 03:42
Serious question....what was the connection between alcohol laws and dud shells?

Andu
10th Nov 2014, 04:06
In Australia, (and I can only assume it was more or less the same in the UK), it gave us a whole generation of maiden aunts, young women who lost their intended in the war and decided not to "take second best" and so remained unmarried.

While on that "second best" line, few would disagree that all nations involved could almost certainly be said to have lost the best ("the flower"?) of that generation in the trenches - and this, especially when coupled with the double blow British society suffered when the best of the next generation were so thoroughly culled by the losses suffered in Bomber Command - can be seen in the sorry standard of (not just) political leadership we enjoy (!) today.

Getting back to Australia, a man who wrote the history book we used for high school Modern History back in the 1960s said that WW1 set the very newly established Commonwealth of Australia back 100 years, because the nation suffered not only one of the highest casualty rates of any nation involved (something many find hard to accept), but that particular generation was quite possibly unique. Many were not native-born, but UK-born and the type of young man who had the get up and go to move halfway around the world to what was still in many ways, a frontier life. There is no way the loss of all those young men can ever be calculated nor what they (or the sons and daughters so many of them never had) might have achieved.

I think the same could be said of France, the UK and Germany (and every other nation involved). Imagine if all those many hundreds of thousands of young men lost in both world wars were populating Europe today instead of the immigrants from the Third World who are, not to put too fine a point to it, turning too much of Europe into clones of the societies they 'escaped'?

John Hill
10th Nov 2014, 04:13
....because the nation suffered not only one of the highest casualty rates of any nation involved (something many find hard to accept),


I suppose it depends on how one defines casualty rates.

Andu
10th Nov 2014, 04:33
John, your mob are said to have suffered a slightly higher casualty rate. The Australians, Canadians and Kiwis used British logistics support to a large degree, allowing them to have a considerably higher proportion of their total troops numbers posted to front line units.

But an explanation as simple as that would not fit your "narrative" of re-writing every damn thing debated here to fit your own unique view of this world.

John Hill
10th Nov 2014, 04:43
Andu, Australia did suffer high casualties compared to other countries of the Commonwealth but as you claim " one of the highest casualty rates of any nation involved" I do indeed find that hard to accept.

nonsense
10th Nov 2014, 05:05
In Australia, (and I can only assume it was more or less the same in the UK), it gave us a whole generation of maiden aunts, young women who lost their intended in the war and decided not to "take second best" and so remained unmarried.

It wasn't a matter of not accepting "second best", at a time when the total population of the UK was about 40 million, there were, quite simply, two million more women of marrying age (say 20 to 30) than there were men to marry them. While many women ended up with very damaged husbands, there weren't even "second best" men for two million women.

I highly recommend the book "Singled out" by Virginia Nicholson (http://www.virginianicholson.co.uk/singled-out) for a comprehensive discussion of the situation and its consequences.

I gave my father the book to read and he pointed out to me that my grandmother emigrated to New Zealand immediately after the end of the war and married within 6 weeks of arriving, a strategy discussed in the book. The situation was so bad in the UK that single women emigrated to "the colonies", Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, to seek husbands. Maybe the gender ratio was no better, but perhaps like modern backpackers they benefited from the novelty of being foreign (insofar as Britain was foreign at the time).

Here's another link (http://books.google.com.au/books?id=Ua4Haa_f1Q0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=virginia+nicholson+singled+out&hl=en&sa=X&ei=T1NgVIzjGqf3mQXPu4DgCw&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=virginia%20nicholson%20singled%20out&f=false) for it.

Andu
10th Nov 2014, 06:08
I'll accept you make a very valid point, nonsense. But the fact is, it was a face-saving conceit (at least among the few old maiden aunts in my family when I was a boy in the 1950s), to explain their single status. "They had lost their one true love in the Great War." (Which is the way they referred to it.)

The other sad fact is that so many of the men who came home were such a mess psychologically after what they'd been through, they were not good husband material, which made the disparity in gender numbers even more extreme. I can still remember one of my (it seemed to me, always crotchety) bachelor grand uncles who had a constant, terrible, racking cough, which my Grandmother explained with a throwaway line "he was gassed in the war". I had no idea what that meant until years later. There was a cardboard box in a cupboard with all sorts of military paraphernalia, (rising sun badges, campaign medals, pennies fashioned into slouch hats, even a balaclava, which I, growing up in the tropics, could not believe men actually wore over their heads).

The real wonder is that so many of them managed to get their act together enough to lead halfway normal lives after they came home. I'd hate to see the stats. showing how many of them didn't - I suspect the suicide figures would be sobering if not staggering.

highflyer40
10th Nov 2014, 06:21
was just watching TV the other day and a story about when the Saudis were just starting out they came asking for a loan of £100000 (£10000000 in today's money) in exchange for all there oil rights.... the foreign minister turned them down saying they didn't have much and what they had wasn't worth much!! how things could have been different.

VP959
10th Nov 2014, 07:50
Serious question....what was the connection between alcohol laws and dud shells?

Because pubs could open all day and late into the night, it was not uncommon for workers to come into work in the morning the worse for wear after a long night in the pub. There was a risk that munitions (and other war effort) workers who were under the influence posed a safety risk and adversely impacted quality and productivity.

To counter this, licensing laws were introduced as a part of the Defence of the Realm Act 1914 that restricted pub opening hours and caused beer to be watered down.

We retained those same restrictive laws (in England and Wales) until the 1990s.

SOPS
10th Nov 2014, 08:10
Thanks very much:ok:.

John Hill
10th Nov 2014, 08:12
Re post-WWI shortage of husband prospects....

When I was a young chap my girlfriend persuaded me to take her on a six hour drive to visit her aunt. She was an old lady living alone in a big homestead on a sizeable patch of lush NZ pasture land. She had never married and had pictures of here lost soldier fiancťe around the best rooms in the old house.

We were there for a couple of days and the lady made somewhat of a point explaining how difficult it was to get a reliable farm manager etc etc. I was obviously too slow to realise what I could so easily have been set up for!!:p

Andu
10th Nov 2014, 08:14
Oh yes. Porter, (more or less stout as we'd know it today), the preferred drink of the working man, was said to be a quite strong brew.

John Hill
10th Nov 2014, 08:41
Probably not, every farmer I have ever known (and I come from a large family of mostly farmers) has always bent me ears about how times are so tough for them. The girl was very nice though.:hmm:

funfly
10th Nov 2014, 08:56
It is often not appreciated that we declared war because of a 40 year old treaty we had signed. Debates in parliament about whether we should honour this old treaty resulted in only a thin majority to do so.

It is worth conjecture had we not entered the war, yes France would have been overrun by the Germans and their history of occupation is not a good one. Germany would never have tried to occupy the UK.

However the end result today would have been very different and one can wonder of the millions killed during both wars would have been avoided.

It's quite an interesting exercise to work out what may have happened had we not entered the conflict. Few people realise that our decision was based on a treaty and not a desire to stop the German progress across Europe and how close we came to not entering the affray.

John Hill
10th Nov 2014, 09:00
Yes funfly it did seem that everyone had a treaty with everyone else!

Trossie
10th Nov 2014, 09:50
racedo,

Summing up you question, it would probably be accurate to say that WW1 was when the elastic that was still holding the modern, industrialised to the medieval agricultural world finally snapped. With this came full modern democracy and (eventually) increases in wealth production that enabled wealth to be spread more among the population.

The UK was already leading the way in much of this (industrialisation and the development of democracy, etc.) and advanced quite well after the war had ended. The rest of the developed world followed reasonably shorty afterwards (way off in the future, WW2 will clearly be seen as the final stages of WW1 and almost that final break everywhere with those medieval pasts; the USA had a slight head-start over much of Europe through their 'remoteness' and the advantage of democracy and industrialisation that had had its foundations with their British cousins; the USSR still had a little longer to go to rid itself of its links with its Russian medieval past and one of those last gasps of the medieval world, that class-based philosophy of Marxism, this possibly making the fall of the Berlin Wall and its consequences as being the true ending of WW1). The UK in the 21st Century is very different from the UK of the 19th Century, and that was primarily due to the upheavals of WW1. It was traumatic for the UK, but it happened elsewhere and none of the fighting or revolutions that came from it ran through the streets of the UK, enabling a more measured readjustment to the modern world than in many other places.

WW1 was just one of that long line of situations over the past 300 years where Britain has had to help Europe to save itself from itself with Britain seeking no territorial gains for their efforts. Hopefully Britain won't be called on to do that again, but watching the way the EU is going, there is still a risk...

ian16th
10th Nov 2014, 10:26
VP959

To counter this, licensing laws were introduced as a part of the Defence of the Realm Act 1914 that restricted pub opening hours and caused beer to be watered down. There was also the nationalisation of a brewery in/near Carlisle!

When it was sold off, Theakston's bought it.

Dunno if it has survived the various take overs.

racedo
10th Nov 2014, 11:46
At the Canadian Memorial last year at Vimy Ridge on the Somme, friends and I were talking with the guides when they showed us around.

They remarked on the Dud shells causing a real problem earlier in the war and my mate was the one who told them about the change in UK Licensing laws as a result.

Guide thought her leg was being pulled until someone not connected with us said he was a pub owner and old enough to have remember laws changing in the 90's and everyone talking of how they had been in place since WW1.

Its the changes in laws that years later nobody remembers why.

Blacksheep
10th Nov 2014, 12:58
Australia did suffer high casualties compared to other countries of the Commonwealth but as you claim " one of the highest casualty rates of any nation involved" I do indeed find that hard to accept.

Highest Casualty Rate among the western allies was France. They lost more than 4% of their population

The Germans also lost around 4% of their population.

The British around 2%

The Kiwis 1.6% and

Australia, 1.3%

Unless there were a lot of men who stayed home, those figures must reflect the relative casualty rates of each army.

But the highest casualty rate of all wasn't among any of the European participants at all. The Turks lost more than 13% of their entire population. The highest rate by a wide margin.




[Years ago when I was still "under the colours", I was chatting with two Chelsea Pensioners who were guests of RAF Wildenrath Sergeants Mess. It was ANZAC Day and I mentioned the ANZACS heavy losses. One of them was one of The Old Contemptibles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Expeditionary_Force_(World_War_I)) - the British Expeditionary Force and he said "Huh! If they'd been with us and the French at 'Wipers' they'd have something to think about." ]

racedo
10th Nov 2014, 13:34
But the highest casualty rate of all wasn't among any of the European participants at all. The Turks lost more than 13% of their entire population. The highest rate by a wide margin.


Are the Turks including the Armenians who lived in Turkey at that time in this figure ?

Lonewolf_50
10th Nov 2014, 14:29
WW I was a catalyst in making oil, rather than coal, the critical energy product for the industrialized world. Some of that had to do with the decisions on how the fleets would be powered in the years previous.

Another was that aircraft ran on petrol, and as noted above, the aircraft came into its own in WW I.

airship
10th Nov 2014, 15:10
racedo wrote: Wiping out of the aristocracy classes. Are you quite sure about that...? It seems to me that most of the aristocracy are still with us. And doing well, in spite of some requiring the assistance of the National Trust these days to keep their domains "intact".

In the immediate aftermath of WWI, the UK population were probably not yet aware. That this was not the end. It was not even the beginning, of the end. But was perhaps just the end of the beginning...of the demise of the great British Empire.

racedo
10th Nov 2014, 17:05
Are you quite sure about that...? It seems to me that most of the aristocracy are still with us. And doing well, in spite of some requiring the assistance of the National Trust these days to keep their domains "intact".

Not as convinced because they lost a significant proportion of their male members, many families had pretty much no male members left or those whom were left were not the brightest of the bunch.

Many Estates ceased to be because nobody to carry on.

Yes there are still numbers around but the schools below lost 9,200 pupils / members of staff
Eton Marlborough Wellington Charterhouse Rugby Cheltenham Harrow George Watson's Dulwich Winchester St Paul's Glasgow High Malvern Uppingham Tonbridge
These pretty much were the Aristocracy and Upper Classes that would have been in charge of UK from the 1920's on.

Eton lost 1157 and lets face it there would have probably been more than a few politicians in there

John Hill
10th Nov 2014, 17:13
There are many places in NZ, and no doubt Australia too, which were once small villages, houses, church, school, post office, general store etc, but are now no more than a lonely finger post at a crossroads along with stone memorial to local men who died in WWI.

racedo
10th Nov 2014, 17:20
There are many places in NZ, and no doubt Australia too, which were once small villages, houses, church, school, post office, general store etc, but are now no more than a lonely finger post at a crossroads along with stone memorial to local men who died in WWI.

You go to many places in rural France and guide books says population of 200 for local area and then you see there are 3-400 names on the war memorial.

Its why I understand why Petain acted as he did in making a peace in 1940, having seen 2/3 generations of French men wiped out in WW1 he knew that France had not got the manpower to do so again.

What he did afterwards was unforegiveable but I don't believe he was a traitor in 1940.

airship
10th Nov 2014, 18:16
Eton lost 1157 and lets face it there would have probably been more than a few politicians in there
Depending on one's point of view, some might suggest that it was not quite enough. Some current UK politicians who attended Eton include both PM David Cameron and London mayor Boris Johnson. But then I'm digressing. My own lineage is as long as that of anyone else alive today. So I'm not at all envious. :ok:

Trossie
10th Nov 2014, 18:39
It is a sad day when someone sees any 'good' in losing large numbers of those who were among the best educated people in the country at the time.

Mac the Knife
10th Nov 2014, 22:21
".....our decision was based on a treaty and not a desire to stop the German progress across Europe"

Not correct. There were MANY many other reasons, one of which being that Britain simply could not accept German control (with their vastly expanded navy) of all the continental Channel ports and hence the Channel.

Mac

TBirdFrank
10th Nov 2014, 22:59
As read at the Cenotaph on Werneth Low at the World War One centenary commemmoration service last August ............


Aunties

When I was achild, There were always lots of Aunties.

They wereeverywhere.



Some were realAuntiesó Mumís umpteen sisters,

Dadís umpteensisters. There was no end to them.



Auntie Flo,Auntie Betty, Auntie Edie, Auntie Marjorie,

Auntie Jessie........ The list is endless.



I wonít go on,Except for Auntie Violet, My favourite Auntie,

Killed on abus in the Blitz.



It seemedquite natural, Didnít give it a thought,

That was theway the world was Ė Lots of old ladies everywhere.



They werecalled spinsters. Some were rather quaint.

And lookeddown upon. A few were slightly mad.



Then, one day, When I was grown up, It dawned on me-

First WorldWar



A million menwere missing. Why hadnít I thought of it before?

The men thesewomen never met. Never had the chance to meet.

All dead





These ladieswere always kind, Gentle and loving to me.

Not sour,bitter and resentful, As they had every right to be.



A millionmissing men. A million aunties.



Raymond Briggs

Tankertrashnav
11th Nov 2014, 09:59
There was also the nationalisation of a brewery in/near Carlisle!


Ian, this was an odd side affect of the new alcohol laws which could be seen in Carlisle until (I think) the 1970s.

There were a number of large munitions factories in the area and the drink problem was deemed to be so serious that it was decided to nationalise all the pubs, and at the same time close down a large number of them. The Carlisle and District State Management scheme came into being which ran over 180 pubs in the area and was still in existence when I grew up there in the 1960s. The beer was ok, as I recall all the draught came from the state owned brewery, but you could buy bottled beer such as Bass, Guinness etc. I'm not a beer or real ale buff (even though I have a beard) but I thought the beer was ok, and it was certainly cheaper than found elswhere.

As I said I think the pubs were all sold off in the 1970s by the Heath government.

radeng
11th Nov 2014, 10:19
One major impact was on the railways. The government had run the railways into the ground - as they did in WW2 - and reneged on paying them the amounts agreed before the war - as they effectively did after WW2. This left many of them practically bankrupt, and the grouping into LMS, LNER, SR and GWR (which was the only one to keep its name unchanged) was the result.

It seems that at least as far as the UK is concerned, any time the government gets involved with running the railways sees a pretty disastrous result......

reynoldsno1
11th Nov 2014, 23:44
My paternal grandfather ran his own business in Stoke Newington in 1914. It seems to have been quite successful. In 1915, at the age of 40, he volunteered to join the Army. He was sent to Gaza with the Machine Gun Corps as a private.
I have a copy of his service record. He was discharged in 1919, and officially diagnosed with what would now be termed as PTSD. He never returned to his own business, and his record contains many letters asking for help in finding him employment. He eventually worked for the Paymaster-General's office, but following intestinal problems, he died in 1933 from post-surgery peritonitis.
I have little doubt that the war hastened his early death.
My father survived World War 2, but his younger brother was killed on the Cherbourg peninsular in 1944. He rarely spoke about his own father or brother, or his own experiences. He did have frequent nightmares.

ChristiaanJ
12th Nov 2014, 00:32
Serious question....what was the connection between alcohol laws and dud shells?
French TV news also mentioned today the vast increase of use, hence manufacture, of ammunition during the war, with the concomitant problems of quality control (alcohol wasn't mentioned, but undoubtedly a factor in France too).
As a result, tens of tons of unexploded shells and other ammo are still dug up every year, even now.

Ogre
12th Nov 2014, 01:29
Paternal grandfather died at Paschendaele, leaving my Dad (a toddler) without a male parent. We think that the concept of "single parent families" is a relatively new idea, and become accepted in society after being frowned upon in the 50's / 60's /70's. All the discussions we have now around the importance of two parents and the male role model in growing up, how many of the pensioners of today were in a similar situation?

Andu
12th Nov 2014, 03:55
On the question of single parent families in the 1920/30ss, in Australia, (and I see no reason the same would not apply to every country involved), WW1 used to be referred to as "the uncles' war", for so many of the soldiers lost in the trenches were too young to have married and so they were "survived" by their nieces and nephews rather than their children. (And before someone leaps to tell me I don't know what I'm talking about, I acknowledge that there were many older, married men in the trenches as well.)

In those days, if a woman widowed by the war (or widowed by any circumstance) was not lucky enough to be independently wealthy or to have an income, she was almost forced to re-marry, for the social safety net of the widow's pension was nowhere near as generous as it is today - (which is NOT to say it is generous today).

Too many who could not find a man willing to take on a dead man's children were forced to put the children into orphanages so they could take a job. You occasionally hear heartbreaking accounts from children who went through this. It was a fact of life though for the not well off - when I was very young and I lived with my grandparents, the ultimate threat if I was misbehaving was "If you keep that up, I'll send you off to the orphanage". Particularly heart-wrenching are stories where siblings were forcibly separated in the orphanages.

ExSp33db1rd
12th Nov 2014, 04:29
We retained those same restrictive laws (in England and Wales) until the 1990s.Drinking hours - pity they were changed, judging by the scenes in many Towns and Cities, and the like, in the wee small hours ?

Was it really so broke that it needed fixing ?

radeng
12th Nov 2014, 07:10
Other major changes resulting from WW1 was the growth in road transport using surplus lorries purchased cheaply, the rapid growth in radio leading to the establishment of broadcasting and the birth of the commercial airline business.

All of which derived from developments during the war.

teeteringhead
12th Nov 2014, 12:15
We think that the concept of "single parent families" is a relatively new idea, and become accepted in society after being frowned upon in the 50's / 60's /70's. This thread and that quote has made me realise for the first time the indirect impact WW1 did have/may have had on my family.

My father was born in 1909, 7 months after his own father's death at the age of 38, as the 6th child of Granny Teeters - who may not even have been aware that Dad was on the way when her husband died ......

I guess Uncle Ted (then 16) would have been working, possibly Aunt Liza too at age 13. But that still left 11 year old Aunt Flo, 8 year old Aunt Em and one year old Aunt Annie. Dad's arrival on 23rd December cannot have been the best Christmas present ever. And much time subsequently was spent in orphanages or similar by the younger ones - Dad was the only one at home with Granny in the 1911 Census. He did his time in "institutions" too later on.

As a 40 year old widow with 6 kids, Granny's prospects would never have been great (although we are a handsome family!!), but would have fallen to zilch with the missing men. But as a rough tough East End (of London) docker family, they got on with it, and Granny Teeters endured 45 years of widowhood until she died at 85 in 1954.

Much respect Gran - ain't JB wonderful ..........

megan
13th Nov 2014, 03:09
Death rates as a percentage of population. Includes military deaths from all causes, civilian deaths due to military action and crimes against humanity, and malnutrition or disease.

Australiaxxxxxxxxx 1.32 to 1.38
Canadaxxxxxxxxxx 0.81 to 0.93
Indiaxxxxxxxxxxxx 0.02
New Zealandxxxxxi 1.52 to 1.65
South Africaxxxxxx 0.12 to 0.16
Newfoundlandxxxix 0.6 to 0.79
UKxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 1.79 to 2.2
Francexxxxxxxxxxx 4.29 to 4.39
Belgiumxxxxxxxxiix 1.34 to 1.95
United Statesxxxxxx0.13
Romaniaxxxxxxixxx 7.73 to 8.88
Serbiaxxxxxxxxixx 11 to 18.11
Greecexxxxxxxxxxx 3.23 to 3.67
Italyxxxxxxxxxxxxx 2.96 to 3.49

Not a complete listing