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Societal Aftermath


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#26 COSergeant

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 03:46 AM

I grew up in the post-war, cold war era. To me, WW2 ushered in greater changes than WWI. But in many cases, the First World War set up the changes that weren’t executed until after WWII. I'm hoping for input from this panel of experts to point out some of the intrigues, relationships, and cause and effects of the shaping of society after the First World War.

Your opinions, facts or wild speculations are welcome.

Here are a few I've thought:

The logistics for provisioning millions of men gave rise to enormous canneries, which changed the way our societies eat. Distribution channels were devised to get massive amounts of supplies to troops. While canned foods were widely available, it wasn't until after WW2 that modern supermarket chains sprang up with sophisticated distribution networks.

Air Power was developed greatly during the war. The US Post Office authorized an experimental mail route that was flow by Army fliers in 1918. After the war, many veterans purchased surplus aircraft and started flying mail as contract pilots. This gave rise to modern air routes (in the U.S.).

Labor movements had a swell of support after the war(s). Laborers reached a point where they were not going to endure as much as had been expected of them during the war. Indeed, many balked during the war! The Bolshevik Revolution was feared elsewhere because it was successful in the USSR. In 1919-1920, the first Red Scare took hold. http://en.wikipedia....First_Red_Scare AfterWW2, the second Red Scare and McCarthyism was off and running.

Housing for millions of troops sprang up almost instantly after war was declared. Yet after the WW1,homes in the US were still built by craftsmen one at a time. After WW2, organized crews built identical tract homes in great numbers, row after row. In Germany, Bauhaus was not simply a design style, but a means to produce buildings with inexpensive and available materials.

Psychiatry and Psychology got a boost from WW1. Men who were broken seemed to benefit from talk and "chit-chat." Psychology was derided, but later earned recognition after successfully easing the suffering of many. The growing science of psychology gave Edward Bernays, Sigmund Freud's nephew, a new tool. He paired psychology with marketing to create a completely new understanding of advertising and reaching consumers.

These are the sorts of Connections (thank you, James Burke) I'm hoping to discover. So again, I'm open to opinion, fact or complete speculation.


#27 truthergw

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:26 AM

I think your question is wide open to post hoc propter hoc fallacy. This forum is aimed squarely at the Great War. Not everything which happened after it. I suspect it would be impossible to keep this thread on topic.

#28 MichaelBully

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 11:29 AM

Yes point taken Terry. It is so hard to imagine that if Britain was not involved directly in the Great War, would such movements such as Feminism and Trade Unionism have gained force of their own accord and the Great War accelerated social and economic changes that were bound to occur?
Certain movements such as Women's Suffrage were initially put on hold when the Great War broke out. A possible conflict between Nationalism and Unionism in Ireland was postponed for two years due to the Great War starting.

I think one consequence was the divide between the young generation and the older generation. Vera Brittain's 'Testament of Youth' is arguably just as focused on this topic as much as Feminism and the human cost of the Great War.
Irene Rathbone's 'We That Were Young' (1933) also concentrates on a generation gap that has emerged. Irene Rathbone was another VAD nurse during the Great War.

Regards
Michael Bully





There are some interesting questions posed by this. By that I mean, what processes were started before the war; and what were hastened by the war or stayed the same in the post-war period?

With regard to women, the process for the right to vote was started before the war. The right to vote was hastened by the war, but not absolutely because of it. The vista of employment for women was broadened because of the war, but in the aftermath it largely collapsed because of the wartime agreements between trades unions and employers to re-employ ex-servicemen at the conclusion of the war. Many working class women, who had become temporarily accustomed to a little freedom, found themselves back to square one at the end of the conflict.

Another subject that I find endlessly fascinating is the situation of servicemen's widows in the inter-war period. Many found themselves in financial difficulty, despite a pension, and it is not difficult to find examples of women who probably re-married for purely economic reasons, particularly those with young children. This also includes those women from the middling classes of British society who had expectations in regard to the education of their children.

TR



#29 COSergeant

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 01:03 AM

I think one consequence was the divide between the young generation and the older generation. Vera Brittain's 'Testament of Youth' is arguably just as focused on this topic as much as Feminism and the human cost of the Great War.
Irene Rathbone's 'We That Were Young' (1933) also concentrates on a generation gap that has emerged. Irene Rathbone was another VAD nurse during the Great War.


Brilliant. In casting a broad net, I was hoping to catch a few unknown gems. I have never heard of either book, but found them both on Google Books. I'm very much looking forward to reading them. Thank you, MichaelBully!

#30 David Faulder

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 11:23 AM

>><< the increase in families owning motor vehicles after the war (fact according to the statistics of licenses granted) and asking if this was attributable and an 'unforseen effect' as per the topic request, or would it have happened anyway? >><<


Also women driving (either vehicles at home or close to the front - Ambulances) had become more common during the war. Whilst after the war there may have been "reversion pressures", many women will have resisted this, other moderately well off families would no longer be able to afford chauffeurs (the family chauffeur may have been killed) and women may have had to drive for their injured husbands.

I can see this as an attributable aftermath.

For the sake of the forum purists, possibly we need to be clearer about exactly what during the war caused the post war effect that we are suggesting. For example
Our Proud History - FANY at the Western Front 1914 - 1919
Protest against 'women drivers'

David

#31 CarylW

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 12:36 PM

Thanks for replying David. I removed a couple of my posts, since I wasn't sure if they were off topic thought it best to keep out

To avoid confusion for anyone wondering what post David is replying to this is one of my posts

.................................................................................................................................................................

Trying to stick with the topic under discussion but I'm not sure if it does, or the following was an 'unforseen result of the war'? .

What about the increase in families owning motor cars? From Britain between the Wars 1918-40: Mowat "..........Before the war, a motor car had been a rich man's toy; and the taxi had largely ousted the hansom cab. Now, however, the family car appeared and added to the traffic which the bus, lorry and the motor van were already creating...."
.
There is a table in the book, showing the increase for the years 1922, 1927, 1930, and including those who owned Motor cars, Motor cycles, Commercial goods vehicles, total motor vehicles and horse-drawn vehicles. I'll post if anyone is interested (or if on topic)

Now would the increase in families owning cars be attributable to the war, or would this have happened anyway? Must have been fairly well-heeled families who could have afforded one at that time though. Also follows on that the increase of vehicles meant the need for more roads

A mention of the effects on hauliers in the book has a war connection "....Ex-servicemen bought surplus army vehicles at knock down prices at Slough, and forced down rates and conditions for the older hauliers before they went bankrupt or sold out...." Might be a broad statement though, since maybe not all hauliers were affected?

Caryl

#32 Michael Johnson

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 04:27 PM

My grandfather received a 40% pension (if I remember correctly) for loss of an eye as a result of a botched operation. Arguably it was the extra money that enabled him to put my father through university, which would have been unheard of given his background (my father's comment was "Half my class became criminals; the other half policemen. I took the middle course and became a lawyer.")

I have also run across a number of widows who did remarry, but often men older or younger.

#33 COSergeant

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 01:58 PM

Cigarette smoking became much more widespread.
Cigarettes were issued to soldiers with their rations. Although not forced, smoking becomes de rigueur for most every soldier. In the trenches, cigarettes were easier to smoke than pipes. Virtually an entire generation returned from the war smoking (addicted to) cigarettes. Later, women start picking up the habit. A cigarette smoking woman is considered scandalous, but slowly becomes acceptable.

Here are a few interesting points found at http://www.tobacco.o...istory20-1.html
  • During the war, Turkish leaf is unavailable; American tobacco farmers get up to 70 cents/pound(!). Tobacco suddenly becomes a valuable cash-crop.
  • Those opposed to sending cigarettes to the doughboys are accused of being traitors. According to General John J. Pershing:
    • You ask me what we need to win this war. I answer tobacco as much as bullets.
    • Tobacco is as indispensable as the daily ration; we must have thousands of tons without delay.
  • 1930s: BRITAIN has highest rates of lung cancer in the world.


#34 Connor

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 02:53 PM

I'm not sure if I really understand the topic. I mean, in the absence of having a time machine or perhaps being HG Wells, most consequences, other than the obvious and immediate ones are going to be "unforeseen" or at least only foreseeable in a vague or speculative way, are they not? In the alternative, I am sure there were any number of predictions that the things listed above in this thread might happen. If they did happen, with no thanks to the predicting party, does that make them "foreseen"?

The only examples that I can think of that might be truly unimaginable and thus not foreseeable to the average person in 1918, perhaps, would be the magnitude of the Spanish Influenza Epidemic and The Holocaust (which has roots both pre-dating and post-dating the war)

Oh! Here's another one: It was unforeseen that a Great War Forum would start up and thrive decades later. No on in 1918 saw that one coming!

#35 COSergeant

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 05:49 PM

Connor: Predicting the future is what makes forecasting so difficult. Posted Image


In researching the tobacco and cigarette connection to the war, I would say that Britain having the world's highest incidence of lung cancer in the 1930's was an unforeseen consequence of issuing cigarettes to every soldier. Why were they issued at the time? Tobacco is a mild sedative. Not being a smoker, I don't understand the addiction. But I know that nicotine is wickedly addictive. The smoking habit is extremely persistent - and would last long past Armistice Day.

The Influenza Epidemic is still a terrible mystery. After the fact, there was considerable finger pointing as to who should have seen it coming. It is still being studied in an effort to understand it and prevent another. There is a theory that a biological interaction occurred between avian carriers, pigs in feedlots and humans in Kansas in early 1918. Was the flu virus initially spread by birds, or unknowingly transported by soldiers? Again, it is only a theory (and possible unforeseen consequence).
You can read more at this Center for Disease Control website, 1918 Influenza: the Mother of All Pandemics
http://www.cdc.gov/n...o01/05-0979.htm
Another good overview is at http://virus.stanford.edu/uda/


#36 MichaelBully

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 07:51 PM

Glad to be of help. 'Testament of Youth' was auto-biography whilst ' We There Were Young' is a novel though the writer seems to draw on her own experiences. Both books appeared at a time where the generation who were born in the 1890's, found the Great War dominated their youth, felt that they were heading towards middle age with a realisation that a major European war could re-occur.

The 1979 TV version of 'Testament of Youth' can be watched on You Tube, also out on DVD.







Brilliant. In casting a broad net, I was hoping to catch a few unknown gems. I have never heard of either book, but found them both on Google Books. I'm very much looking forward to reading them. Thank you, MichaelBully!



#37 COSergeant

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:46 PM

I think your question is wide open to post hoc propter hoc fallacy....


Truthergw,
Your point is well taken. EVERY historian must guard against making faulty syllogisms. More than one have been caught by their poor scholarship or "lack of witnesses."
My question is one of brainstorming and fishing in the pond of geniuses. I'm simply asking for some ideas or insights that may lead to more "ah-ha!" moments in understanding how The Great War shaped the 20th Century.

#38 MichaelBully

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 08:51 PM

I have read somewhere that the idea of prison reform got a boost as a consequence of the Great War and conscientious objectors. Having Absolutist COs going to prison , some who were politically active already, and letting them see conditions in prisons, meant that after the Great War their impressions of life on the inside remained with them. In 1923 the 'English Prisons Today' report was published
by the Prison System Enquiry Committee edited by Stephen Hobhouse and Fenner Brockway, who were both CO's who been imprisoned.

#39 DavidB

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 09:31 PM

Was Stephen Hobhouse in any way related to Emily Hobhouse, the bane of Kitchener during the Boer war ?

#40 MichaelBully

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 10:05 PM

Don't know much about him to be honest. You could ask the Peace Pledge Union archivist as I magine that Hobhouse will appear on their database of CO's.
archives@ppu.org.uk

There is a National Archive report available on him, but doesn't seem to be on line

http://yourarchives....First_World_War

Regards,

Michael Bully

Was Stephen Hobhouse in any way related to Emily Hobhouse, the bane of Kitchener during the Boer war ?



#41 MichaelBully

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 05:06 PM

Have had a chance to consult John Rae's 'Conscience and Politics'........Stephen Hobhouse and Emily Hobhouse were second cousins. Regards.


Was Stephen Hobhouse in any way related to Emily Hobhouse, the bane of Kitchener during the Boer war ?



#42 Lachlan

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 11:49 AM

I can't speak for a generation, but I'm sure my Granddad's story was pretty similar to most men who came back from the war. They got down to it and started over.

Having soldiered in 6th Batt Black Watch, 51st Highland Div for most of the war, then transferring to the RSF's in 1918, Cpl James Gow was demobbed and returned to Perthshire to resume his gamekeeping employment. His wartime friend from Glendaruel, Argyll introduced him to his sister and getting married, took up a gamekeeping post for the Glen Caladh Castle estate's owners, nr Tighnabruaich, Argyll. My father was born in the castle in 1924. They later moved to Ronachan Estate, Kintyre, Argyll for his next gamekeeping job. My dad's memories of him were never of a man with a problem, he was generally quiet about the dark side of the war, but mentioned stories on a lighter vein and something of the conditions too. He did mention the friendly fire incident in May 1918 when the 51st's accidentally ripped fire into Portuguese troops fleeing the German assaults. Whether he had cold sweats, relived bad times through dreams I don't know, but my dad never mentioned it. Being army, he had a disciplined side but also a humorous and also musical side.

The funny thing is, my dad was always in awe of what his dad must have lived through during the Great War. When it came his time, my dad joined up in WW2 and eventually ended up in Special Operations Executive. He spent his active service in Force 136 as an operative (wireless operator - morse) in the steaming jungles, ridges and ravines of Burma, the missions frought with evading ever-near Japanese patrols while gaining intelligence to send back to India or being part of ambushes and search and destroy ops. He had some hair-raising times, including being sniped at in the middle of the jungle while answering the call of nature - a bullet clipped a jungle leaf just beside his head (was nothing sacred ?!) but despite it all, he told me he felt fortunate and would far rather have been doing what he did and where he was, than having been in the trenches of WW1 like his dad did.

My dad did re-live through dreams sometimes after he was demobbed and got married - one night he woke up strangling my mum, thinking she was a Jap ! The bad dreams went but re-surfaced in the 1990's when we encouraged him to write his life story.

My conclusion is that I believe many in my dad's generation preferred to be in their wartime hell than the hell of WW1.

#43 Magnumbellum

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 06:40 PM

Have had a chance to consult John Rae's 'Conscience and Politics'........Stephen Hobhouse and Emily Hobhouse were second cousins.


This extract from an article, 'That Miss Hobhouse', by Philip Radley, WW1 Quaker CO, in The Friend, 10 March 1972, may throw further light:

When the First World War came, [Emily Hobhouse] was one among the fine body of women from many countries who worked for peace, seeking to mitigate the effects of, as they felt, "this man-made catastrophe". Once again she found herself in trouble with the Government (and she was not an easy subject to deal with), this time for carrying on peace propaganda from Switzerland and Italy. She managed, through her friendship with the German minister, von Jagow, to visit in occupied Belgium and in Germany itself, and to investigate conditions under which British prisoners were held in Ruhleben camp.

It was during the war also that she worked with British Friends in relief work, though she herself was never a member of the Society. It was partly her influence which led her cousin, Stephen Hobhouse, to become a pacifist, subsequently renouncing his inheritance and joining Friends.

#44 MichaelBully

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 07:35 PM

As helpful as ever MB, many thanks. Since posting on this thread , I have got hold of 'To End All Wars-How The First World War Divided Britain' by Adam Hochschild, which has references to both Emily Hobhouse and Stephen Hobhouse. To put it mildly , I am not particularly convinced by this book, and tend to want to cross reference whatever the author says. But has given me some more material to go on shall we say. Regards, Michael Bully

This extract from an article, 'That Miss Hobhouse', by Philip Radley, WW1 Quaker CO, in The Friend, 10 March 1972, may throw further light:

When the First World War came, [Emily Hobhouse] was one among the fine body of women from many countries who worked for peace, seeking to mitigate the effects of, as they felt, "this man-made catastrophe". Once again she found herself in trouble with the Government (and she was not an easy subject to deal with), this time for carrying on peace propaganda from Switzerland and Italy. She managed, through her friendship with the German minister, von Jagow, to visit in occupied Belgium and in Germany itself, and to investigate conditions under which British prisoners were held in Ruhleben camp.

It was during the war also that she worked with British Friends in relief work, though she herself was never a member of the Society. It was partly her influence which led her cousin, Stephen Hobhouse, to become a pacifist, subsequently renouncing his inheritance and joining Friends.





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