Recruitment

By the end of 1914 the British Army needed more men for many reasons one was the causalities were on a big increase. 42,000 men were injured and the war started off with 100,000. By Christmas the numbers killed were 21,000 this was only 5 months of war. With Germany wanting a war their army was well prepared and much bigger then the British with 2. 6 million soldiers fending for Germany. With France as our allies it was an advantage that their army was bigger then the British, but France complained that British wasn’t pulling its weight as it had a very small army and needed to get their act together.

They could tell this was going to be a long war so would need a lot more recruitment. The only way British government were going to get more soldiers would to get volunteers as there was no law in Britain that could force men to join the army. The reason for this was that the British public was always against the idea of conscription. Also the people who did volunteer had pride in themselves for fighting for their country. There were many ways the government convinced men to join the army.

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One very effective way was the poster campaigns; the way they did it was to hurt men who hadn’t joined by making them either feel guilty, embarrassed or ashamed. Some posters concentrated on women to get them to persuade their boy friends to join the army. One focuses on a child asking her father what he did in the Great War and you can tell on the look of his face that he humiliated as he didn’t join the army when his country needed him this would make a man want to join more.

Other media had influences on men joining the army. For example the music hall was a very good place to get men to join what happened was once a week there would be a music show put on and by the end some girls what come on stage and sing a song about joining the army. Famous words used in the songs were “And on Saturday I’m willing if you will only take the shilling and I’ll make a man out of any one you”

Meaning that if the soldiers were to take the shilling (which was how much you were giving if you signed up) and when she said and I’ll make a man out of any one of you it is saying that she will offer him a kiss. Then they gave pressure to the men in audience to join but when the first man joined there were a lot to follow suit. Another way they got men to join was at football matches. Story has it that in a Newcastle match the mayor gave a speech to the crowd to join the army. 8 thousand people went into the game 14 thousand after the match went to join up and finally they used white feathers from a chicken.

This meant you were a cowered for not joining the army, it was normally women who gave the feathers to men in non-uniform. The campaign was successful at first but when people sent letters to their family or friends’ telling them it is not what they are advertising it like, people stopped signing up. When people stopped volunteering by 1916 the government brought in conscription.

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