How Did British Society Support War In 1914

1443 Words 6 Pages
Similar to the French populace, British society has frequently been depicted as being immensely enthusiastic about the outbreak of war in 1914. Yet Gregory argues that ‘the evidence for mass enthusiasm at the time is surprisingly weak’. This misleading portrayal of British society was fuelled by the memoirs of politicians, in particular Lloyd George. Writing almost twenty years after the outbreak of the First World War, the Chancellor at the time recalled how the crowds behaved in London after the announcement of war on 4 August, he wrote ‘hundreds were buying Union Jacks...the crowds cheered...with extraordinary fervour. It was a scene of enthusiasm unprecedented in recent times’. By depicting the war as being greeted with great zeal Lloyd …show more content…
The day after The Times article, Andrew Buxton, a banker, told his sister ‘I know you don’t want me to enlist, but I cannot help thinking it my duty’. People in Britain certainly supported the war, but they did so not out of war enthusiasm and jingoism, but out of duty. It is important to draw the distinction that just because British society supported war does not mean they were enthusiastic for war. A sense of duty and defending one’s county played a large role in how British society responded to the outbreak of war. Walter Hare recalls why he fought. ‘There was an army opposed to us and we didn’t want them to get into England, and we thought the best way to stop them was to keep them where they were, in France’. Although we know there was no German plan to invade Britain, this defensive motive was genuinely felt by …show more content…
The vast majority of the Irish being Catholic felt a sense of affiliation with ‘little Catholic Belgium’, they believed as representatives of a Catholic nation, the Irish had to help Belgium. Just as in Britain, on the whole Ireland felt the cause against Germany was just. The response of Irish society to war was perhaps the most extraordinary in the whole of Europe. War abroad meant peace at home for Ireland, the war most likely prevented civil war in Ireland. As a result many in Ireland greeted the war with a, albeit short-lived, sense of relief. Ireland was by no means enthusiastic for war, but the majority of the population were supportive of the war. The infantry of the King 's Own Scottish Borderers, who only days before had been firing on a crowd of civilians, killing three, were given a grand send off on the 6 August in Dublin by an estimated crowd of 50,000, one witness recalls how the crowd was ‘most enthusiastic for England, singing and playing God Save the

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