Comparing The Deluge And The Pity Of War

1004 Words 5 Pages
Despite Britain being a superpower in the years prior to World War One, Britain was not an exemplary leader. In fact, it had fallen so far behind with important aspects of international relations such as trade that newer countries such as Germany were able to advance on its own and surprise Britain as it would be considered a legitimate opponent. This perspective of pre-war Britain is brought into the light in Arthur Marwick's "The Deluge" and Niall Ferguson's, "The Pity of War". Although both authors do come to similar conclusions that World War One was inevitable, Marwick focuses on why British citizens wanted to go to war and how they achieved this feat. In contrast, Ferguson argues that Britain was more so divided between class about going …show more content…
Britain was threatened by the seemingly legitimate challenge of such a new State whose national income was greater than France in 1913, and closely gaining on Britain's numbers. Furthermore, these two powers were arguably the biggest spenders on the war, Britain having taken a $4.3 billion loan from the US, no doubt trying to maintain its supremacy in Europe. Akin to Marwick's argument that Britain's was being challenged militarily, Ferguson also emphasizes the German competition in marine defense against the Royal Navy. A huge mistake was made in Germany's foreign policy by building battleship fleets that were interpreted as a legitimate challenge to Britain. To add to the hysteria, Germany was also thought to have the upper hand in espionage on Britain as Germany was said to be studying and taking notes of coastlines as well as preparing for possible invasion of the island. British anxiety was fueled by belligerent Germanic writers such as General Friedrich von Berhardi who were the reason behind many frivolous searches for underground German operatives in Britain. Both authors seem to agree that through Britain's ignorance and individualism, their industry, the Royal Navy and intelligence was being challenged aggressively by …show more content…
The recruiting pressure within Britain played a large part in this creation of public excitement as it appealed to many of the young men that would apply in the early stages of the war. If the enthusiasm alone was not convincing enough, recruiting centres created both a sense of moral purpose to serve and a sense of guilt in the cases of posters that questioned masculinity. In combination with recruiting pressure, the role of media was crucial to convincing young men to join the ranks. In fact, the anti-German appeal to masses was conveyed through popular press in the form of propaganda, and stories that perpetuated the belief that trench life was enjoyable. In addition to these factors for social unrest in Britain, it was also Germany's aggressive actions such as the raids of Hartlepool, Scarborough and Whitby that enraged British citizens and created an intense hatred for the Kaiser and his people. Marwick specifies that the arguments justifying war, stacked against some claims that it could potentially hurt the economy, overwhelmingly swayed the majority of the nation in favour of

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