World War One Sources Questions

Length: 785 words

Q1. “Source A is propaganda and, therefore , it is of little use as evidence about the importance of women in the first world war.”

Do you agree or disagree?

I agree that the source is of little use as evidence about the importance of women in the first world war, this does not however mean it is of no use at all. It instead shows us how the leaders of the time where trying to portray these women just to get them into work and therefore helping the country. The picture shows men and women as having an almost equal status. This is meant to try and recruit women into jobs that were vital for keeping the war effort going. The source does however show no evidence that there has been a great improvement in attitudes towards women during the war.

Q2. Is source C more reliable than source E as evidence about how enthusiastic women were to support the war effort in the first world war?

Source C is written with hindsight , when this was written in 1994 it is likely that the truth is more easily accessible than it would have been during the war when things were highly censored. This

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is written upon the account of somebody who actually witnessed these events and as far as we know had no reason to lie. If true it shows that the women were not as happy as many sources, mainly written as propaganda show them to be.

Source E was written during the war and is an extract from a newspaper article. This is written by a journalist who at the time would most likely have been a man. The source is an exaggeration of what was actually happening . This could either be because the full detail was not known due to the heavy censorship or because the full detail was deliberately left out. The journalist most probably did not witness these events and would not have been able to make negative comments about the government so the resulting piece of writing is most probably inaccurate. I believe that source C is more likely to be accurate and more reliable than source E.

Q3. Sources D and G give different interpretations of the attitudes towards women that existed during the war.

Why do they differ?

Source D is written after the war had finished when it was more evident what had actually happened. It shows that although the men knew the women were capable of doing the work the men did not want them to as it would mean that more men were vulnerable to conscription. We know that although the women were doing the same jobs as the men they were paid less, this shows that they were still not considered as mans equal.

Source G is written during the war for “The War Illustrated Magazine” , this was a government run magazine used primarily as propaganda. Negative comments would not be placed in magazines such as these which would also have been used to get more women into work so in many cases the stories stretched the truth and over exaggerated the few good points. For example this article says women have reached an almost equal status with men but still they are paid less for doing the same work.

The main reason for this difference is due to when the sources were written. Source D is most likely to be more accurate as more information is available to the writer and as far as we know Mr Rex Pope has no reason to lie

Q4. Why do you think source F was taken?

The source in question is a photograph of a female bus conductor taken during the first world war. There are a couple of possible reasons this photograph may have been taken. It could have been taken as a propaganda Photograph showing how women have earned the rights to do men’s jobs and now have the opportunity to do so. If taken for this reason its aim would be to try and recruit more women into the vacancies left by the men who have gone to fight and to gain the support of women generally by giving them these opportunities. On the other hand it could simply be a personal photo of the conductor taken by family or friends to mark this memorable moment when women were given the chance to have these normally male jobs.

Q5. How much can source H add to our understanding of the role of women during the first world war?

Source H is a collection of eight silent films made by the government, the collection is called “War women of Britain: Women at war 1914-18”

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