War and Social Change: A study of a Scottish Burgh, 1910-1922.

Harding, Albert William (1996). War and Social Change: A study of a Scottish Burgh, 1910-1922. MPhil thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f7be

Abstract

Wars seem to be endemic, but their effects are difficult to measure. Do wars have a positive side? Or are they purely negative? A great deal has been written since 1965 in an attempt to answer this question.

This thesis analyses the impact of World War One on the city of Perth by examining social conditions pre-war with those that appeared post-war and endeavouring to establish links.

The introduction reviews the extensive literature and identifies the main areas of controversy, assesses the contribution of Arthur Marwick to the ongoing discussion, tries to define the concepts of total war and social change and lists the contribution of several participants.

The pre-war evidence shows that Perth, although it still had a strangely rural, almost Victorian flavour, was a city in transition and that many aspects, usually taken as modem - the motor car and the cinema - were already influencing life. Then the next five chapters are devoted to the progress of the war, year by year, as far as the civilian population was concerned. Each year, of course, producing its own mood ranging from crusading zeal to gloomy despair. As with most cities in the UK, 1917 was to prove the year of crisis. The post-war period, despite the exhaustion, was one of speedy recovery.

The conclusion, based on an enormous volume of confidential police reports, shows a society emerging from a limited rather than a total war, in which all traces of conflict had disappeared within months and which picked up the threads of pre-war life with great composure. The post-war period was dominated by the development of the motor car and the expansion of the cinema.It would seem that the main effect of World War One was psychological.

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