Jump to content


Spartacus

Teaching the First World War


  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 John Simkin

John Simkin

    Super Member

  • admin
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 16,102 posts

Posted 06 December 2011 - 04:51 PM

One way of introducing a new topic is to look at a couple of sources that encourages the student to think deeply about the period of history they are studying. For example, they could be asked to look at the following passage from The Morning Post (14th March 1916): "At Southampton yesterday Robert Andrew Smith was fined for treating his wife to a glass of wine in a local public-house. He said his wife gave him sixpence to pay for her drink. Mrs Smith was also fined £1 for consuming and Dorothy Brown, the barmaid, £5 for selling the intoxicant."

#2 John Simkin

John Simkin

    Super Member

  • admin
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 16,102 posts

Posted 07 December 2011 - 01:50 PM

Another source of information you can give the students is from Ernest Sackville Turner's book, Dear Old Blighty (1980). He tells a story of how Commander Alfred Rawlinson employed blind men in 1915 to sit on the top of high buildings with a pole attached to their heads. Any idea why he did this?

#3 John Simkin

John Simkin

    Super Member

  • admin
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 16,102 posts

Posted 13 December 2011 - 05:50 PM

Graham Greene, was born in Beckhamstead in 1904 and published his autobiography, A Sort of Life in 1972.

"There were dramatic incidents even in Beckhamstead. A German master was denounced to my father as a spy because he had been seen under the railway bridge without a hat, a dachshund was stoned in the High Street, and once my uncle Eppy was summoned at night to the police station and asked to lend his motor car to help block the Great North Road down which a German armored car was said to be advancing towards London."

#4 John Simkin

John Simkin

    Super Member

  • admin
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 16,102 posts

Posted 14 December 2011 - 08:12 AM


Another source of information you can give the students is from Ernest Sackville Turner's book, Dear Old Blighty (1980). He tells a story of how Commander Alfred Rawlinson employed blind men in 1915 to sit on the top of high buildings with a pole attached to their heads. Any idea why he did this?


To listen for Zeppelins.


In January 1915, two Zeppelin navel airships 190 metres long, flew over the east coast of England and bombed great Yarmouth and King's Lynn. The first Zeppelin raid on London took place on 31st May 1915. The raid killed 28 people and injured 60 more. (24)

Soon after this raid, the government appointed Alfred Rawlinson to take charge of early anti-aircraft defences. In his book, The Defence of London, 1915-1918 (1923), he explains how he placed naval guns in Regents Park and Tower Bridge and a number of Hotchkiss six-pounders scattered about the city. (25)

Ernest Sackville Turner explains in Dear Old Blighty (1980) that Rawlinson also developed an early warning system against the Zeppelins: "An early inspiration in the war against Zeppelins was to recruit the blind, whose ability to hear the throb of distant engines was deemed to be greater than that of the sighted. In south-east England they manned a binaural listening service which fed information of range and altitude to the defences. Commander Alfred Rawlinson, who claims some credit for this innovation, has explained that the system was based on the natural instinct which urges a person, on hearing a distant sound, to turn his head towards it, so that it is heard equally in both ears. In the early experiments the blind man was fitted with a stethoscope to intensify his hearing and a pole was attached to his head, which would turn in the direction of the raider and indicate the bearing on a compass dial.... How substantial was the contribution of the blind does not emerge from Rawlinson's account; certainly listening posts consisting of stethoscopes attached to wide-mouthed, rotatable trumpets were eventually worked with some success by the sighted."

What about the other two?

#5 John Simkin

John Simkin

    Super Member

  • admin
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 16,102 posts

Posted 16 December 2011 - 09:46 AM

The other two are harder.

The bar story is hard to decode because that area wasn't affected by any sort of prohibition
and suffrage doesn't appear to play a part either. The shocking elements of the story are
really the escalating fines (it doesn't say what they husband was fined). To fine the barmaid
5 quid for selling a 6 pence drink seems almost humorous.


During the First World War, David Lloyd George, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, led the campaign against alcohol. He had been told by shipbuilders and heads of war factories that men's wages had gone up so much that they could earn in two or three days what would keep them in drink for a week. A Newcastle shipbuilder complained that double overtime on Sunday meant no attendance on Monday. In January 1915, Lloyd George told the Shipbuilding Employers Federation that Britain was "fighting German's, Austrians and Drink, and as far as I can see the greatest of these foes is Drink."

The government was particularly concerned about the amount of alcohol being consumed by female munition workers. A survey of four pubs in London revealed that in one hour on a Saturday night alcohol was consumed by 1,483 men and 1,946 women. Newspapers claimed that soldiers' wives were "drinking away their over-generous allowances". The Times reported that "we do not all realise the increase in drinking there has been among the mothers of the coming race, though we may yet find it a circumstance darkly menacing to our civilisation".

In October 1915 the British government announced several measures they believed would reduce alcohol consumption. A "No Treating Order" stated that any drink ordered was to be paid for by the person supplied. The maximum penalty for defying the Government order was six months' imprisonment. The Spectator gave its support to the legislation. It argued that it was the custom of the working-classes to buy drinks for "chance-met acquaintances, each of whom then had to stand a drink to everyone else" and believed that this measure would "free hundreds of thousands of men from an expensive and senseless social tyranny". A detailed account of legislation can be found on my website.

http://www.spartacus.../FWWalcohol.htm

#6 John Simkin

John Simkin

    Super Member

  • admin
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 16,102 posts

Posted 17 December 2011 - 07:30 AM

The Greene anecdote is also humorous, as if the Germans would attack a small town to
the *west* of London on their way in. Of course, these stories illustrate the fear of Germany
that must have been palpable during that time. Kind of ironic though given how much the
British actually fomented that war :-)

I would love to hear more about these two incidents, however.


Graham Greene was describing the anti-German feeling that existed in the United Kingdom in 1914. Anyone who could speak in German was suspected on being a spy. Greene was not the only one to report dachshund dogs being attacked. James Hayward has argued: “Famously, dachshund dogs (although not apparently Alsatians) were put to sleep or attacked in the streets, a persecution which endured so long that in the years following the war the bloodline had to be replenished with foreign stock.” The reason for the hostility towards dachshunds was that at the beginning of the war they were seen as a symbol of Germany. Political cartoonists commonly used the image of the dog to ridicule Germany. This continued during the Second World War when Hitler’s face was put on the body of a dachshund. This caused a stir when in 1943 the United States government used such a cartoon to advertise war bonds. Hans Morgenthau, the Secretary of the Treasury, was forced to issue an apology where he denied there was no intention of questioning the patriotism of the owners of dachshunds. A full account of these anti-German incidents can be found on my website.

http://www.spartacus...Wantigerman.htm

#7 John Simkin

John Simkin

    Super Member

  • admin
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 16,102 posts

Posted 24 December 2011 - 04:56 PM


The Greene anecdote is also humorous, as if the Germans would attack a small town to
the *west* of London on their way in. Of course, these stories illustrate the fear of Germany
that must have been palpable during that time. Kind of ironic though given how much the
British actually fomented that war :-)

I would love to hear more about these two incidents, however.


Graham Greene was describing the anti-German feeling that existed in the United Kingdom in 1914. Anyone who could speak in German was suspected on being a spy. Greene was not the only one to report dachshund dogs being attacked. James Hayward has argued: “Famously, dachshund dogs (although not apparently Alsatians) were put to sleep or attacked in the streets, a persecution which endured so long that in the years following the war the bloodline had to be replenished with foreign stock.” The reason for the hostility towards dachshunds was that at the beginning of the war they were seen as a symbol of Germany. Political cartoonists commonly used the image of the dog to ridicule Germany. This continued during the Second World War when Hitler’s face was put on the body of a dachshund. This caused a stir when in 1943 the United States government used such a cartoon to advertise war bonds. Hans Morgenthau, the Secretary of the Treasury, was forced to issue an apology where he denied there was no intention of questioning the patriotism of the owners of dachshunds. A full account of these anti-German incidents can be found on my website.

http://www.spartacus...Wantigerman.htm


Here is a German cartoon making fun of the British campaign against dachshund dogs.

Attached Files



#8 John Simkin

John Simkin

    Super Member

  • admin
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 16,102 posts

Posted 31 December 2011 - 08:50 AM

Thanks for sharing, John. I'm actually much more a student of history than of JFK
or any of the other specific topics here. My library has a JFK section, but it's a small
part of the overall spectrum of modern history that I love to understand. Keep the
tidbits coming. As I tell my friends and coworkers, if it's unimportant information,
I probably know it :blink:


I think this information is important because it tells us so much about the period. One of the things that fascinate me about history is just how much things change. This is especially true of attitudes. for example, have you read this thread:

Maud Allan and the Cult of the Clitoris

http://educationforu...showtopic=18547

It would make a great film.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users