Source evidence for the contribution to the war

Source F, a poster produced by the government in 1916, encourages women to become munition workers for the First World War. It is useful in many ways; it shows that women were patriotic and capable of doing jobs that were not necessarily the stereotypical jobs for them at that time. It shows both sexes working alongside each other. The poster was created during the First World War so the designer knew the situation. It shows that women were a massive aid to the war effort as without the ammunition that they provided, the men might not be able to fight, therefore may have lost the war and England may have been taken over by the Germans.

In the picture, the male is shown depending on the woman sitting for shells. During WW1, Russian fighters were extremely low on munition and as a result of this; they did very badly in the war thus evidently women such as the one in this poster, played a big part in saving England. Women were sacrificing their lives making shells for soldiers like the one in the poster as many who worked with munition were poisoned and turned yellow. Many of these women, known as ‘canaries’, died as a result of this.

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Source F is of limited use as evidence for the contribution to the war effort as it is only one poster so information and knowledge of the situation is limited. It only shows one aspect of women’s work and does not mention other jobs they did such as blacksmiths, gravediggers, bus conductors, agricultural workers and factory workers. It is propaganda by the government encouraging women to enrol. It is biased and hypocritical of the government as they had said women were not competent enough to work.

Its sole purpose was to get women into the workforce for the war while the men were at the front fighting and dying. However it does not prove that the government changed their mind about a woman’s place, merely using them to help win the war. Source G is statistics, a secondary source from a school textbook published in the 1980s, showing women in employment in Britain in 1918 compared with four years previously. The table shows data from Metal industries, Chemical industries, Government Offices and food, drink and tobacco production.

It should be reliable as it confirms increased enthusiasm and increased production within the industries. It is dependable information as it comes from a school textbook and it is a statistical analysis and also was written 70 years later therefore there was plenty of time to research. The way this source was compiled shows how women contributed to the war effort hugely and that they participated in areas they hadn’t explored previously such as weapon production. It shows in effect that propaganda such as source F had worked.

Source G is not as useful as evidence for the contribution of women to the war effort for many reasons. It does not state how many women were available to work in that country in either period. Figures are needed before and after showing if there was a real change of attitude to women. The war gave women a chance to prove they were perfectly capable of doing men’s jobs but neither source actually shows a real change of attitude by the government towards equality, work and voting rights of women. It seems as though the women are being used.