Community, patriotism and the working class in the First World War: the home front in Wednesbury, 1914-1918

Fantom, Paul Adrian (2016). Community, patriotism and the working class in the First World War: the home front in Wednesbury, 1914-1918. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis examines the impact of the First World War on the town of Wednesbury. Although receiving limited scholarly consideration to date, it is contended that this Black Country town played an important wartime role and this study, based upon extensive archival research, has investigated the key economic, political and social consequences and changes occurring during this period. Embedded within the broader contexts of time and place, it draws extensively on the experiences of the town's working-class community to demonstrate how a local history can enrich our appreciation of the lives of working people and inform our understanding of the national picture. Following the establishment of the rationale, methodology and the principal historiographical debates, life and society in Wednesbury on the eve of war are described. Reaction to the outbreak of hostilities, economic and manpower mobilization, and wartime industrial relations are assessed. Also charted are the main social and political developments. There is a chapter devoted to the locality's first air raid, when the German Navy's airships bombed Wednesbury, Bradley, Tipton and Walsall. In evaluating this community's patriotism, it is concluded that whilst the adjustment of attitudes was unavoidable, many aspects of Wednesbury's contribution should be viewed as truly unique.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain


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