The United Kingdom in World War I

The United Kingdom in World War I


German zeppelins bombed towns on the East Coast in January 1915. London was also hit later in the same year. Aircraft replaced the zeppelins during the later stages of the war. Propaganda supporting the British war effort often used these raids to their advantage: one recruitment poster claimed "These [bombs] only strengthens Britain's resolve to crush the German Barbarians."

Recruitment and Conscription

See: Recruitment to the British Army during World War I

In the early stages of the war, many men, fueled by promises of glory, decided to "join up" to the armed forces: in August 1914 alone, half a million signed up to fight. Recruitment remained fairly steady through 1914 and early 1915, but fell dramatically during the later years, especially after the Somme campaign, which resulted in 500,000 casualties. As a result, conscription was introduced in January 1916, for single men, and extended in May to all men aged 18-42.


Rationing was introduced due to food shortage and undernutrition. There were severe penalties.It was only fully introduced in 1918 because voluntary rationing was not working. The reason rationing was needed was because their ships importing food were being sunk and also the government wanted more food to go to soldiers.

DORA (Defense of the Realm Act)

The government passed DORA on 8th August 1914, soon after the outbreak of war. It gave the government wide-ranging powers during the war, including:
*The right to take any land or buildings needed
*Controlling information (censorship)
*Taking over important industries.
*prohibition of discussions of naval or military matters in public places
*prohibition of spreading rumours about naval or military matters
*prohibition of the sale of binocularsStephen Fry, QI (Quite Interesting), BBC 2, 22:00-22:30 3 November 2006.]
*prohibition of trespass on railway lines or bridges
*prohibition of melting down gold or silver
*prohibition of lighting bonfires or fireworks
*prohibition of giving bread to horses, or chickens
*prohibition of the use invisible ink when writing abroadStephen Fry, QI (Quite Interesting), BBC 2, 22:00-22:30 3 November 2006.]
*prohibition of the sale of brandy or whisky in a railway refreshment room
*prohibition of ringing church bells
*prohibition of providing true information regarding the newspapers


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