How far was the feeling of distress the most important change in lives and attitudes of British people towards the Great War during the years 1914-1920?
Important shifts took place regarding the emotions and attitudes of the British people towards the Great of war of 1914. Feelings of patriotism were replaced with feelings of distress. This essay will look into the changes that took place in the British people and why the feelings of the public were different before the Great War. What contributed to the change and what were they? I will also look into how the government and media played a part in the changes, lives and attitudes of the public as well as the heavy loss of life in key battles such as The Battle of the Somme. This essay will also look into the roles of women during the Great War and how employment opportunities changed the way women were perceived thus contributing to a different type of emotional shift after the war had ended in 1918.
Before the War
Before the Great War Britain had colonised one-third of the globe [the sun never sets on the British Empire]. This had created a vast and powerful empire which resulted in British people feeling very patriotic towards King and Country. Britain took advantage of the products discovered in these countries; importing spices from India and sugar from the Caribbean. All this was only achievable from Britain’s powerful navy and armies that had given British people a strong sense of security. As well as being patriotic, British men and women were also very ethnocentric. This is clearly shown in the lyrics of ‘Rule Britannia’, a song that was derived from a poem by James Thompson in 1740. The date of the poem clearly shows how far back British patriotism dated.
“When Britain first at Heavens command”
“And Guardian Angels sang this strain”
“The nations not so blest as thee”
These lyrics clearly show British people’s attitudes towards their King and Country; there is a clear sense of...