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This programme in the "War and Society" series, presented by Professor Arthur Marwick, tries to assess the immediate effects on Britain of the war. First we see shots of working-class lif...e before the war. It is a life which includes grinding labour and welfare by charitable institutions, but the apparent misery does not stop the enthusiastic welcoming of the declaration of war. Government propaganda films emphasize the pleasantness and the worttraiiile aspects of joining up and helping to win the war in the armed forces, and on the home front, What they did not dwell on, at least in the earlier stages, were the squalor in the trenches, and the less significant, but often present disruption, hatreds and even physical danger which the war brought to civilians at home, especially those with a pacifist conscience or a German name. The film includes extracts from an acted documentary on voluntary rationing which provides unique insight into upper-middle class attitudes in war time and ends with a melodramatic official propaganda film "The Leopard's Spots", which advocates the converting of a military struggle with Germany into an economic one once the war has ended. This programme can be considered complementary to the next in the series "Consequences of the War 1914-193O': (see separate synopsis). Specially-composed silent film piano music accompanies some items.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A301, War and society
Item code: A301; 03
First transmission date: 28-02-1973
Published: 1973
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:23:24
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Producer: Edward Hayward
Contributor: Arthur Marwick
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Bomb damage; Coal mining; Film; Film evidence; Newsfilm; Propaganda films; Recruitment; World war
Footage description: Arthur Marwick introduces the programme film of miners drawing lamps, entering lift cage and at work on the coal seam. Film of 1910. Arthur Marwick adds descriptive comment Arthur Marwick describes goverment intervention in social and economic matters in the years preceding World War 1. Film made by National Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis is shown. Arthur Marwick shows film of the scenes in London at the outbreak of war, and scenes of volunteer recruitment shown in the film 'Our Empire's fight for freedom', 1917. Arthur Marwick discusses the reported enthusiasm with which war was greeted when it came. Film of the reaction of the English populace to Germans and to those of German extraction, looting of shops and spy fever. Sequence from 'Britain prepared1, (1915) showing new recruits being inspected by and then marching past George V. 'John Brown joins the army' (1918)-shows the existing procedure; the whole film is shown. Arthur Marwick comments on the film sequences shown. Film of life in the trenches is shown. Also of an attack. Arthur Marwick comments on what can be extracted from such film when the captioned commentary is ignored. The following film sequences are shown: 1. Return of wounded from France. 2. Bomb damage at Bury St Edmunds. 3. Children in gas masks 4. Recruiting film for national service for civilian work in agriculture etc. Arthur Marwick over comments on the clips shown. Arthur Marwick introduces an early propaganda film on the need for rationing. He comments on the growing govermental intervention occasioned by the war and the need for control. (Film continues beyond sound cue) Arthur Marwick discusses the introduction of conscription. Film of crowds in Trafalgar Square and of pacifist meetings being disrupted. Film of soldiers being demobilised; and of crowds celebrating the armistice. Propaganda sketch of 1917 'The leopard's spots' is shown. Arthur Marwick comments.
Master spool number: 6LT/70771
Production number: 00521_3303
Videofinder number: 2569
Available to public: no