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First World War Factory

Autor:   •  November 2, 2017  •  2,079 Words (9 Pages)  •  394 Views

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of this source. The source does fit in with the fact the women worked in both world wars in jobs they did not traditionally do before the war and that more women worked in the Second World War. Another problem with this source is that it contains information only about how many women worked in different industries during the world wars but fails to comment on how effective this workforce was and has no information about any increase in production this may have caused. I do not feel this source is particularly useful in comparison to the other sources however it is useful for telling us how many women worked in Industry and agriculture in both world wars and comparing the First and Second world war in the context of the employment of women in essential industries.

Source D is a oral primary source from a munitions worker in the First World War who was interviewed in 1972 as part of an oral history project. This source shows that women worked in munitions factories in the First World War in shifts of 10 hours. It tells us that the chemicals in the shells were damaging and that the morale of the female workers was high ‘ I didn’t hear one grumble…’ . One of the weaknesses of this source is that it is one person’s subjective view and so the source is biased. Furthermore the person may remember only their own opinions and not all the workers may have been so cheerful. Also as the source was made over 50 years after the war the munitions worker (Mrs M.Hall) may not have been able to remember all of the correct details about the factory or the war; however as this would have been such a major part of her life for so many years it could have been an unforgettable experience. The source was taken from a book by Max Arthur called Forgotten Voices and so this increases the reliability as books are more likely to be authentic than other sources of information such as the internet. This source is useful for it not only helps us understand the experience and the context of the use of women workers in the Great War but it also shows us what their morale was like and what the impact of the factory was on their social lives. This source has the limit of being from someone who would not have been privy to information about productivity excreta and so they would not know any information which would have been sensitive to the war effort. This source fits in with the fact that many women were employed in war production industries in the Second World War and that the chemicals used in munitions production were highly toxic. This source is linked with sources B and E in capturing the atmosphere and illustrating what happened within a factory and illuminating the impact of war work on the women’s day lives respectively.

Source E is a primary source of a cartoon from a British magazine in June 1943. This source tells us that women were being taken away from housework in order to do war work. The weaknesses of this source are that it tells us very little about the facts of women working in world war two and it is politically biased. The strengths of this source are that it is a primary source and so is more reliable as it was written at the time of the war and that is gives us an opinion of women working in world war two. It also shows us what many of the public may have felt. Another strength of the source is that it shows us what people may have been doing in a wartime factory for example sorting bolts. The source is also useful for showing us what some of the rules of a wartime factory may have been such as the notices in the cartoon telling the women not to waste light or smoke. The source shows us the attitudes of people at the time with reference to women working in factories. This fits in with the fact that many people at the time did not agree with women working but many others did think that it was necessary. The cartoon does not have to reflect the views of the wider public as newspapers often reflect the view of their readers or owners. This source is limited as it tells us no information about how many people other than the cartoonist agreed with the point of view although this was in fact most likely a considerable percentage of the population.

Overall I feel that for learning about women working in the First and Second World Wars sources B and D taken together are the most useful. This is as they show the viewer what the atmosphere of a First World War factory was like and how those involved felt. Although source C covered both wars and showed a lot of facts and figures it did not give any context to these figures and so would not be overly useful when learning about women working in World War One and Two. Moreover a greater understanding can be made of how women worked in the First World War in these sources. However, as it is the only source mentioning the issue source A is the best source for learning about agriculture. However source A is a very weak standalone source in the absence of wider knowledge and as such B and D are better for learning about women working in the First World War overall. As C is the only source that (however briefly) covers both industry and agriculture and the First and Second World Wars it is the only one which technically meets the criteria of informing people about women in industry and agriculture in both the First and Second World Wars. While both primary and secondary sources are both useful in the context of women at work in the First and Second World Wars the primary and secondary source respectively Sources B and C are best taken


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