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Title: Citizens at war : the experience of the Great War in Essex, 1914-1918
Author: Hallifax, Stuart
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 2167
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis examines the experiences and attitudes of civilians in Essex during the First World War, 1914-1918. Through these it explores the reasons for people’s continued support for the war and how public discourse shaped conceptions of the war’s purpose and course and what sacrifices were needed and acceptable in pursuit of victory. This combination kept the war comprehensible and enabled people to continue to support it. Vital to getting a picture of how the war was understood is an account of the role of the local elites that sought to shape popular knowledge and attitudes about the war. The narratives of the war, the discourse of sacrifice, and elites’ roles evolved with events at home and at the front. Chapter 1 deals with the initial reactions to the war and growing acceptance of the major war narratives. The second and third chapters address two of their major features: attitudes towards the enemy and volunteering for the armed forces. The fourth chapter addresses the changes to the war's narratives and ideas of sacrifice as casualties and hardships increased from 1916, while Chapter 5 provides an in-depth case study of local military service tribunals. The final chapter deals with the crises of 1917-18, which covered both the expected course of the war and the image of equal sacrifice, and how local and national elites overcame these problems. The successful depiction of the Great War as necessary, just, winnable, and fought against an evil enemy allowed civilians to accept sacrifices in order to win. An evolving discourse of sacrifice framed what was expected of and acceptable to civilians. Local elites played an essential role: advocating sacrifice and endurance for the national cause while also working to ensure that sacrifices were minimised and borne equally. This combination of framing the war and mitigating its effects was vital in maintaining civilian support for the war effort.
Supervisor: Gregory, Adrian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Modern Britain and Europe ; History of War ; World War I ; Essex ; Great Britain ; civilians ; morale ; recruitment