WWI: How the Great War left a lasting scar on Britain

The Great War will forever leave a lasting mark in British history. Unlike all the other conflicts, the First World War left an impact to many lives even in modern times.

One of the undeniable reasons why many Brits still hear the eerie echoes of the First World War is because many families of today can trace their roots to ancestors who, in one way or another, played a role in the brutal war. The war will always be remembered for changing the lives of many. Men from all walks of life participated in the war. The ones with privileged backgrounds left the comfortable suburban life to fight side-by-side former inmates of Strangeways in the trenches to fight occupying forces all over Europe.

The women, left to rear the families while the men fight the war, became providers of their families. Ever day was a torture as the uncertainty of life and death of loved ones who joined the war became a reality. News of death of sons, husbands, relatives, and neighbors was nothing new. Other women, on the other hand, went off to join the war with the men caring for the wounded as nurses. They became witnesses of the power of guns and bombs to injure, maim and kill. They tried their all to snatch the wounded from the lethal grip of Death himself.

Those who chose to spare their families of joining in the fire fight did not escape the reality that all around them was chaos. Their suffering, grief and sorrow usually associated to wars is none the less as heavy as those who had lost love ones fighting in the muddy trenches. No family was spared from the horrors of the Great War. Almost a century since the outbreak of the war, descendants visit the graves of the war heroes which lay side-by-side in graveyards irregardless of their social status.

During the outbreak of the war, the people of Greater Manchester aired different views and responses. The conflict was not like any other and understandably there was fear and confusion. But even more, there was the fighting spirit that united all to a common cause and to a desire of peace. There was the sense of urgency to do their duty. Every one had to share their piece of mind with regard to the war. Every one vowed “to do their bit”. They put on their uniforms and carried their firearms. They trained hard for “a victory that would surely arrive before Christmas”.

The Manchester Evening News reports that they will be doing their part to tell the tales of the war heroes to honor the soldiers during the 2014 centenary of the First World War. 

They hope to give the generations of today and the coming generations a glimpse of the life of British men and their families during World War I.

In fact, the words of the editor of Manchester Evening News on July 31, 1914 still resounds to this day.

“What course shall  England pursue should a general European war break out? Prejudices, passion or ignorance of the fundamental conditions of our natural freedom inspire divergent answers. The first principle of all British foreign policy is that England, though an island, forms part of Europe. Forgetfulness of this simple fact has, in the past, had disastrous consequences.”

And history bears witness that England chose freedom.


Siegphyl is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE