The Effect of World War I on Social and Economic Life in Britain

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The Effect of World War I on Social and Economic Life in Britain The First World War changed a lot of things social and economically for Britain. These changes consisted of the diminishing international trade, the woman’s role, and changes in political issues and different attitudes to the war. I will show how far Britain’s economic and social state changed due to the war, causing negative and positive changes. Britain’s international export trade was a problem for Britain as during the war Staple industries relied heavily on exporting; they also relied on old markets such as Russia, the Far East and elsewhere which were closed to them because of the war. Also former customers who where in need of coal, textiles and steel turned to other new suppliers such as America and Japan. The contraction of trades during the war helped reduce the income Britain traditionally derived from shipping, which caused inter-war unemployment. Yet there were still advantages stemming from the war. The productivity of the British industry increased rapidly owing to state-sponsored mechanisation. Also there seemed to be a better standard of the engineering products as well as electric power being used more, because of all the factory work. The distortion of the economy also helped to stimulate industries such as engineering, chemicals, shipbuilding, coal, iron and steel, which had a direct relevance to the armed forces. However textiles did not have much relevance during the war and slowly lost value. Another positive impact due to the war was that after the war there was a post-war boom in the years 1918-1920. Investment and the demand for goods we... ... middle of paper ... ...War’ for Britain. It cost them millions of pounds, a great amount of lives were lost and wasted, and gold reserves were shattered in wartime trading. The war also changed the way in which many people lived and entitled people to many rights, these were mainly for the women of the time. Many things did change due to the war either for better or worse, many things had to change for a chance of success. Britain engaged its resources sensibly but was still stretched to find enough of everything to win. Women played a major role in the war effort and their help back home was just as important as those on the front line. Clearly 1914-1918 saw momentous economic changes. The economy was radically reoriented for the efficient prosecution of the war: there could, therefore, be no easy or quick return to satisfy peacetime needs.
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