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A Heroine at Home: The Housewife on the First World War Home Front

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Abstract

When we visualise women on the First World War Home Front we tend to think of women munition workers rather than women in food queues. The first group are remembered as young, energetic and patriotically ‘doing their bit’, while the others, if they are there at all, are older, greyer and passive. Yet, of course, many of these women were the same people dealing with different aspects of ensuring their own and their family’s survival in the new phenomenon of ‘total war’. The purpose of this chapter is to bring the women in the food queue back into focus thereby raising questions more broadly about how we understand the Home Front, particularly what the war meant for everyday life in Britain as the nature of the crisis deepened from 1914 to 1918. Ironically we actually know more about how this was experienced in other belligerent nations, such as Germany and Austria, than we do about Britain.1 That in itself says something about how the Home Front has figured in the British historiography of First World War and how these debates have in turn affected the representation of the civilian experience of the war in popular culture, within heritage sites and as part of the memorialisation of the war.

Keywords

  • Woman Worker
  • Daily Mail
  • Labour History
  • Home Front
  • Food Riot

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© 2014 Karen Hunt

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Hunt, K. (2014). A Heroine at Home: The Housewife on the First World War Home Front. In: Andrews, M., Lomas, J. (eds) The Home Front in Britain. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137348999_6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137348999_6

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-137-34897-5

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-137-34899-9

  • eBook Packages: Palgrave History CollectionHistory (R0)