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Assess How Useful Sources C And D Would Be For An Historian Studying The Impact Of Total War On The Home Fronts During World War I

702 words - 3 pages

Assess how useful Sources C and D would be for an historian studying the impact of total war on the home fronts during World War I.
In your answer, consider the perspectives provided by the TWO sources and the reliability of each one.

Both sources C and D would be very useful to an historian studying the impact of total war on the home fronts during World War I.

Source C is a primary source from a former American ambassador, James Gerard's "My Four Years in Germany." This source would be useful to a historian as it describes the rations that were applied to meat, potatoes, milk, sugar, butter and soap in Germany. It also explains the class separation between the rich and poor as the rich's life style did not change all that much as they were still able to eat well just for higher prices. This would have separated the classes even more than before, with two extremes- the really rich and the really poor as the working class suffered ...view middle of the document...

The source describes this by stating the lack of coal and explaining the reasons for the public places closing was so the coal was not wasted. The source is only focused on the German home front and does not give an indication on the situation in other countries.

Source D is equally useful, but from a British perspective instead. The source is a British propaganda poster from 1917 demonstrating a woman cutting bread and a British ship crashing into a German U-Boat with the words, "Don't Waste Bread!" and "Defeat the 'U' Boat." The purpose of this poster would have been to persuade people to ration their bread in order to lessen the amount of coal needed. To do this it tries to raise moral and patriotism by saying that by saving their bread they are contributing to the war, instilling a sense of purpose. The image of the ship crashing into the German submarine gives the public someone to blame for the rations they are being put under as well. One of the aims of the poster would be to instill hatred of the Germans, the enemy, for being the ones that cause them to have to save their bread and therefore will want to help with the war effort even more to get rid of the hated Germans. This source is useful because it demonstrates that Britain had rations put in place and tells how the government went about trying to influence people into helping the war effort and complying with the rations. however it does not show the historian the reactions to the poster and if it fulfilled its intentions.

The sources are also reliable as source C is just a retell of what a man saw when he was in Germany without any apparent judgment on it. Source D is reliable as it is an actual poster produced by the Ministry of Food in 1917 and therefore gives a historian an accurate picture of what kind of propaganda was put out there in the home front. Both sources, though they were from entirely different perspectives and were different source types, gave quite a bit of information that a historian could definitely use , along with other sources on reactions to propaganda, other countries' first hand accounts and other primary and secondary sources of similar nature, to assess the impact of total war on the home fronts during World War I.

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