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1427170 Bs1546 Essay

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Cardiff Business School

Section 1 (to be completed by the student)
Student Name:
Elodie James
Student Number:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Economic History
Coursework Title:
Assessment 2
Submission date:
(before 12 noon on…)
Date document last saved/printed:
Leon Gooberman

Section 2 ( To be completed by the Lecturer)
Number of words:

What lasting impacts did the First World War have on Britain’s Economy? Was the overall impact positive or negative?

Britain’s international status and success prior to the First World War was world leading. The pre-war boom of Britain saw international trade in Stirling more prominent than any other currency, London’s financial district as a global business centre, and investment stocks of £4 billion dispersed overseas1. When Minister for War Herbert Kitchener (1914-16) saw it necessary for the British government to adopt a ‘Business as Usual’ policy2, expectations were in line with the ‘short war’ theorem: owing to limited resources and the general social and economic threats of war, any modern war was to be brief. The population was not anticipating the world’s first total war in history. From financial to social, the influences of the Great War were indisputably significant. Being both domestic and international, the impacts that forced the transformation of Britain’s economy are what this essay hopes to evaluate, while also analysing the relative contributions of the numerous economic effects instigated by the First World War.

Beginning with the economic effects of the war internal to Britain is the mass mobilisation and the loss of some 700,000 soldiers - perhaps the most well-known impact of the First World War. The mass medical examination of potential soldiers contained only a little over a third that were deemed fit enough for combat, while the remaining men were either “totally unfit for service”, or had disabilities3. This shows just how unprepared the country was for a war of global scale. The abrupt increase in the armed forces meant a 15 per cent decline in the civilian labour force, leading to the amplified labour force participation of women by approximately 50 per cent overall towards the closing years of the war. This vast contribution saw a wider breadth of industries entered (and thus sustained) by women including metal, chemical and munitions sectors- each with rising female participation of 15.2 per cent, 18.9 per cent and an ...

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