Why did the initial enthusiasm for the war die away? • Recruitment figures fell the longer the war continued. • Christmas came and went, and the war was still going on. • Overall in 1914 the Allies lost nearly 400,000 men. Two thirds of the original army had been destroyed!
The Government’s response • Conscription • The fall in the number of recruits meant that in May 1916 conscription was introduced. • All men aged between 18 and 41 now had to join the army unless they were working in essential industries. • DORA • Under The Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) (1914) the government was given great powers of propaganda and censorship. • Censorship is deleting unwelcome facts. From 1915 newspapers and letters from the front were heavily censored in order to preserve morale, and there was a strict rule that no photograph could be published which showed a photo of a dead British soldier. • Propaganda is putting spin on events. The poster propaganda campaign was led by Lord Kitchener (right), the Secretary for War.
Propaganda – written • "As the German soldiers came along the street I saw a small child, whether boy or girl I could not see, come out of a house. The child was about two years of age. The child came into the middle of the street so as to be in the way of the soldiers. The soldiers were walking in twos. The first line passed the child; one of the second line stepped aside and drove his bayonet with both hands into the child's stomach, lifting the child in the air on his bayonet, and carrying it away on his bayonet, he and his comrades still singing".
Propaganda – written • Source A • When the fall of Antwerp became known, the church bells were rung in Cologne.From the German newspaper Ksche Zeitung, August 1914. • Source B • According to the Ksche Zeitung, the clergy of Antwerp were compelled to ring the church bells when the fortress was taken.From the French newspaper Le Matin, August 1914. • Source C • According to what The Times has heard from Cologne, via Paris, the unfortunate Belgian priests who refused to ring the church bells when Antwerp was taken have been sentenced to hard labour.From the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, August 1914. • Source D • According to information which has reached the Corriere della Sera from Cologne, via London, it is confirmed that the barbaric conquerors of Antwerp punished the unfortunate Belgian priests for their heroic refusal to ring the church bells by hanging them as living clappers to the bells with their heads down.From Le Matin, August 1914. • What can you infer from the changes in this story?
Propaganda – pictorial Discussion point: What are the similarities and differences between these propaganda posters? TIP: Consider who they are aimed at and the emotions they appeal to.
Sourcework practice question • What are the strengths and weaknesses of these posters as an explanation of why men joined the army between 1914-1916?
Discussion points • Why did no recruitment posters appear in Britain after January 1916? • Why were there no US recruitment posters until 1917? (they hadn’t joined).