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Essay about World War I's Affect on British Industry and Economics

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The outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 produced immediate changes. It is often said that war is the 'locomotive of history' - that is what drives it along. Certainly the First World War helped to produce major changes in Great Britain especially socially and economically.

World War I produced major economic changes. British industry had been to a large extent transformed by the mobilization of millions of soldiers and by an unprecedented switch to war production. Under a positive perspective, the economy had shown a new production capacity. Although total output had decreased, due to the smaller workforce, productivity definitely increased. There had been much state-sponsored modernization. Electric power was used more than ever before. The removal of so many skilled workers had initially threatened an economic collapse but had in fact stimulated the much needed mechanization. The efficiency of agriculture had also increased, with the widespread introduction of the tractor. The same cannot be said for the high numbers of causalities incurred. A productive section of the workforce had been lost. In addition, Britain still had to provide financial support for the formidable costs of the war. Massive amounts of money had been borrowed, particularly from the United States, and still had to be repaid. Valuable overseas markets had been lost. During the war, massive investment in the staple industries had taken place. Once the war was over the demand of these products fell.

The decline of the staple industries was also the main reason for the bitter industrial relations which developed in post-war Britain. During the war actually industrial relations had improved. Trade unions reacted patriotically to the outbreak of...


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...acklash against the movement’s right afterwards. As a result of their ability to work, on 1917, women of a certain age were allowed to vote, and eventually full voting rights were granted on 1928

In conclusion, the war brought drastic changes to Britain both economically and socially, and in some ways, also politically. It can be argued that these changes would have taken place even without the war. However if this was the case, they would have happened at a slower velocity; therefore the war did speed up some positive changes. However it also caused industrial and political mayhem, immense causalities and major problems for the economy. However compared to other states who took
part in the war, Britain was able to survive without too many great difficulties and especially without a revolution which is what happened in many other places in the world at the time


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