World War 1 as a Total War
In what ways can the First World War be seen as a Total War Total war is defined as the organisation of entire societies for war, using all Its economic, military and human resources to aim for complete victory. In addition there is less differentiation between combatants and civilians than In conventional warfare; civilians were affected as deliberate targets of war In their own right. It can be argued that the government of the Involved countries focused the economy on the war effort which in turn had an Impact on everyday life.
The countries tried to make the maximum use out of their human and economic resources, which leaded to a entralization of power In hands of the government. The government started to control their countries In different aspects. Conscrlptlon was Introduced to control manpower better. Conscription Is defined by the compulsory enlistment In some kind of national service. In this case It was military service. In the united Kingdom, for example, it was introduced in 1916. In addition, governments started to exercise more control over industry, which leaded to nationalizing key industries like coal mining and shipping.
They also had to control inflation, so that wages and prices were regulated. In order to pay for the war various countries increased taxes. Britain, for example, increased direct taxation. The governments also started to adopt tariffs on certain imported goods. The countries also borrowed money from other countries and also from their own people, what was done through ‘war loans’ . ‘War loans’ were credits issued by the population of a country to finance military operations and other expenditure in times of war, which the government would pay back with interests after the war ends.
We can highlight that propaganda also made World War One a total war. After a big amount of time fighting some persons lose their otivation to fight a war and therefore they stop supporting their country. Propaganda was used to solve that problem by the governments. With propaganda the countries usually wanted to recruit new soldiers, motivate the population to support their country with work and money and to set on their population against the enemy. A poster made by the allies shows three anxious kids near by a shadow of a swastika and says: ‘Dont let the shadow touch them… uy war bonds’. That poster was used to make the population hate Germany and to use that hate to make them support their country with money. Propaganda was an Important part of the war and Britain even created a Ministry of Information which made propaganda a key element of Its war policy. One of the points that make the First World War a total war Is the affect the war had on the life of civilians. The clvlllans were affected by military action and due to the new technology available there were many casualties.
On the Eastern Front, due to the movement, clvlllans were Involved In violence, accidentally and deliberately. The Jews, for example, were attacked deliberately by the Russians. On the Western Front the civilians were able to keep away from the fighting, so that casualties were reduced to Inaccurate artillery fire. The First World War Is also the war that caused most casualties on civilians until that moment, due to military action or Oue to Tamlne, Olsease or accidents. A clvlllans oleo on Dotn sloes In total due to military action.
The most shocking fact is that about 6,000,000 civilians died because of other reasons that were caused by the war and the life circumstances. As a result of the military casualties, in some countries conscription was introduced. Due to conscription a lot of men left their work and Joined the army. As a consequence a lot of pursuits weren’t satisfied, like for example nutrition as a consequence of a lack to farmers. In addition both sides started to cut off supplies to their enemies. They tried to disrupt trade routes and to intercept the food and raw materials supplies.
Germany used submarines to create shortages which affected British civilians. As a result, the average calorie input of an adult civilian from the involved countries dropped from about 1500 in 1915 to 1000 in the winter of 1916-1917. In addition, due to the rapid growth of industry and men Joining the army and leaving their workplace, a lot of woman Joined the workforce. In spite of all to employ a woman was not the first choice of the employees. Women had to deal with isadvantages. One of them was the differentiation in wages compared with male workers.
The wages of women remained low, despite their work increased. By 1917, one in four war workers was female. That shows how big the role women had in World War One was. In addition women had to deal with agreements made to let them work in ‘men’s Jobs’, as for example that these arrangements would Just be temporarily. By 1918 Woman formed 55% in Germany and in other countries the number of workers increased dramatically, for example in Russia, with 20%, and in Austria-Hungary with 25%. All of the involved countries had ‘total’ aims and they ere reluctant to give them up.
Germany ‘s war aims were to expand their territory and to increase their economic strength to ensure security for Germany in west and in east ‘for all imaginable time’. As a consequence negotiated peace was difficult to achieve. Propaganda also made the peace difficult to achieve because it Justified the war and demonized the enemy. However, there were some tries to make peace by important persons. Some of them were the Pope Benedict XV and Lenin. They tried to develop peace without taking any personal benefits out of it. They principally called for a peace without annexations or financial demands.
The affected countries, on the contrary, tried to make the maximum profit out of peace treaties. The First World War also affected the civil population of the involved countries and not only the soldiers. The on war effort focused economy led to changes in the life of the civilians what is basically what makes a war a ‘total war’. In the points above it is made clear that World War One was a ‘total war’ because of the effect the war had on civilians and their lives, the growth of power of the government and how it was used to take advantages in war out of it and the attitude of the countries towards the implementation of their aims.