Volunteering And Recruitment

August 1914- How Britain reacted to the news of the war.

The First World War

The first world war, also known as the Great war, started on the 28th of July 1914 and ended on the 11th of November 1918. It was fought between the 'Triple Alliance' and the 'Triple Entente.' The Triple Alliance consisted of Germany, Austria- Hungary and Italy, whereas the Triple Entente consisted of France, Great Britain and Russia.
When war finally broke out, people greeted the news enthusiastically, each wanting to prove their military strength. The rearmament and the frequent war scares caused the European nation to become more and more nationalistic and militaristic.

Everyone thought that the war would be a short one, and that it would all be over by Christmas. Young men signed up to go to war and women volunteered to look after the soldiers on the battle field. The men were treated like heroes.

'Girls smiled, men looked at us with respect, bus drivers wished us good luck and refused to accept money.'

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Propaganda played a large part in World War One. The original soldiers had died out and the government needed to recruit more soldiers quickly. Propaganda took various forms, such as posters, literature and films. Pictures that made the army look exciting, glorious and a exciting adventure, were being printed out and posted on walls or newspapers. Films were also being released that would make men feel that it was their duty to go help their brethren out on the fields of battle. Some posters like these:

made people feel guilty and compelled to go to join the war. The posters made men feel guilty by saying that their children would be ashamed of their fathers if they didn't go join the great war. Others intensified the already strong feelings of nationalism or encouraged the people to make the Germans pay for their crimes, such as the sinking of the RMS Lusitania.

180,000 people had signed up to join the army by August 1914. 640,000 had joined by September and by October, the army had over 780,000 volunteers.

Although over one million volunteers were recruited by the end of 1914, more were needed. The government passed a law saying that men between the ages of 18 and 41 had to go to war whether they wanted to or not. This was called conscription. People who refused this, were at risk of being imprisoned.