First World War

When war was declared in the summer of 1914, a wave of patriotic fervour encouraged young men to volunteer in their thousands. The scale of the warfare which they experienced, in what was to be called the ‘Great War’, was unprecedented. Trench warfare and new weapons such as poison gas, tanks and shells, meant that men were killed on an industrial scale.

The civilian population was often ignorant of the horrors of the front line and men wanted to protect their families from what they had endured. Some letters, however, give accounts of events and through the poems of soldiers such as Wilfred Owen, we can gain some insight. As the war progressed, there were increasing shortages and the loss of manpower became a problem at home. Women were increasingly called upon to fill these roles; they began to do jobs and wear clothes which had previously been thought of as inappropriate for women.

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