Presentation on theme: "ISSUE 2.1 The effects of the war on life in Scotland."— Presentation transcript:
ISSUE 2.1 The effects of the war on life in Scotland
To cover the syllabus you should know about the following: What DORA was and why some Scots objected to it.
What conscription was and why some Scots objected to it What conscientious objectors were and why they were against conscription. How the war affected women in Scotland. How Scotland coped with the size of its losses in the war.
DORA, censorship and government control of the Home Front What was DORA? DORA was the short name for the Defence of the Realm Act that became law on 8 August 1914. It was a law that allowed the government to pass many new measures to protect the country during the war.
One of the first security worries when war broke out was the risk of spies The government needed to secure all transport networks from acts of sabotage, such as blowing up railway tracks or setting fire in timber yards. Spy stories in newspapers warned the public to watch out for any suspicious looking people.
Also increased censorship in newspapers. At that time there were no public radio or television broadcasts to worry about. Reports about the war in newspapers were written to give a very positive slant or bias in favour of British forces Reports about Germans were intended to make people hate them.
In other words most war reporting was propaganda and was seldom allowed to tell the truth. Even letters home from front line soldiers were censored so as not to worry the folks at home or give help to the enemy. It was always possible spies could intercept letters and gain valuable information.
Why did opposition to DORA increase during the war At first the public accepted the need for increased security and control over things that were seen to be vital for the war effort. However as the war went on, the public became tired of restrictions that seemed only to have a slight connection to the war effort.
DORA.......... When DORA was used to help war production by limiting the opening times of pubs and reducing the alcoholic strength of beer, many people objected. Some people even had to give up their homing pigeons when the authorities feared the birds might be used to send messages to the Germans.
DORA.. Police were on the watch for anyone whistling at night in case they were signalling to low flying zeppelin air ships overhead.
More seriously, people objected to the way DORA was undermining civil liberties Critics of DORA felt the government was abusing its powers and silencing legitimate political debate, including anti-war opinion. DORA also gave the government the right to imprison people without trial, and that was directly against the freedoms that British expected.
One example of how the government used DORA to turn legitimate protest into an unpatriotic act was in the reporting of strikes on Clydeside in 1915. The government shut down anti-government newspapers such as Forward for a short time while pro-government reporting tried to show the strikers as undermining the war effort and threaten the lives of soldiers on the front line.
Criticism of DORA increased when conscription started. Under the conscription laws, men could be conscripted (or forced) to serve in the armed forces or do jobs of national importance. For civilians on the Home Front, conscription meant that conscripted workers were no longer civilians. They were under military authority and discipline and as such were denied the right to strike.
Conscription had not been used in Britain before and its introduction was seen by some as yet another increase in the power of the state at the cost of individual liberty.
Did most people object to DORA? No, they did not. The public believed government action was necessary to win the war. In 1914 Prime minister Asquith had been criticised for saying life in Britain during the war was ‘business as usual’.
By 1915 everyone knew that was nonsense! The war required a huge effort from everyone to win it. So DORA was seen as the way the government could direct and control the war effort necessary for victory.