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To What Extent Was Britain A Divided Society At The Beginning Of The Second World War?

854 words - 4 pages

To what extent was Britain a divided society at the beginning of the Second World War?

After the First World War came to an end, Britain, as were many other countries, was in a rather fragile state. Unemployment was as high as 70% in some areas of the country and the British Empire was fast receding. Due to factors such as these the 1930’s have been referred to as ‘The Devil’s Decade’, insinuating hardship for everyone involved. However, I would argue that not everyone was having a hard time in Britain in the 1930’s, in fact some were having a better time than ever, meaning Britain as a society was indeed divided.

The state of the British economy in the 1930’s was far from the best it ...view middle of the document...

 This class divide is not specific or unique to the 1930’s of course, as we still experience this is today’s Britain. 

One aspect of division in Britain that was much more evident in the 1930’s than today was the gender divide. As it is well known women in the 1930’s suffered outrageous inequalities much mores that in today’s Britain. Most women were destined to live a life of housework, however due to the effects of the First World War more women than ever were in employment, in order to replace men who were required to go to war and serve their country. This can also be seen in the Second World War, where in 1939 27% of the total labour force was made up of women, rising to 38.5% in 1945, a rise of 11.5% in just six years. Despite this indicating better opportunities for women to earn their own money, this figure dropped again almost immediately after the Second World War ended, to 31% in 1946 (4). This shows that although the gender divide appeared to have lessened during the years of the war, in fact nothing permanently changed at all for women, it was simply a necessary move to ensure the safety of industries, as Braybon & Summerfield explain “there was a stubborn reluctance at the heart of government to introduce any policy that would change the conventional role of women at home, even at the...

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