Why the country moved from voluntary Recruitment to conscription

The reason why we didn’t start of with conscription was because the government was probably expecting more people to voluntary enlist. First of all you were only recruited if you were single but then the laws changed and all men from a certain age were conscripted although many were forced to do so. When war broke out Britain only had a small professional army; the army needed more people quickly so the government decided recruitment was in order. Meetings took place and ministers from towns tried to persuade people to conscript to the army.The good part though was that many people were anti-German thanks to the press with their German stories about babies being butchered, nurses being slaughtered and the most unbelievable of all the Germans are said to use corpses to make soap. From just listening to this sounds stupid and to believe some people actually thought this was true. This was obvious propaganda and lead to conscription and many people died believing the false truth although the government definitely got more people to conscript.

More than half a million people recruited after these vicious rumours and by 1916 over 2million had enlisted. In 1916 the government decided to introduce conscription for the first time ever. Nearly all men aged from 18 to 40 had no choice but to register for the army. They could be called anytime so everyday could be there last. The reason for the conscription was because in December 1915 this was the lowest month for people conscripting so that is why the government decided to start conscription.

The dead and wounded needed replacing and another problem was that the volunteer system was damaging Britain’s agriculture and industry. An example is when many ore miners joined up and were brought back because there was coal shortages. Although not all men volunteered, the fittest and most able didn’t bother so that was another reason why conscription was introduced. Although not everyone agreed, in fact over 50 parliament members disagreed with conscription. Others who disagreed were punished and made to feel guilty.

Recruiting was at its peak in September 1914 with 462,000 recruits and by February the recruitment figures dropped to nearly below 100,000. Reports of the frontline were coming back to Britain so more people were hearing of the disasters happening such as casualties and deaths. Recruitment posters came about to persuade people to join but in the end people had to conscript no matter what happened. Pacifists came about and said that they didn’t want to kill people in the war for reasons like it was against their religion and they didn’t want to kill another human being.People who did this were dealt with severely and punished to the extent of execution. Some of the punishments were not as severe as others although one man who was put in a pit said he was starting to go mad after staring at the same bit of mud all day and has the sun beating down on his head without much water to drink. Some people did want to fight but could have been pressured by parents or wives or even maybe influenced by a friend or a propaganda poster.

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People who volunteered before the conscription was decided probably were aware of the harsh conditions on the frontline.The government knew that people wouldn’t be told of these conditions when conscripted. Most if not all of the volunteers were killed and when the people heard of such casualties more and more people backed out of the war. The B. E.

F {British professional army} only had seven hundred thousand good troops and most of them in fact almost half of them died during the start of the WW1 {World War 1}. The only reason why Britain went to war was because of the threat of Germany.Otherwise we had no reason to fight and we wouldn’t have had to use conscription. If we didn’t use conscription then Britain would of have been defeated, I consider it that we were lucky because almost half of the victorious army were recruits. In a way it was lucky that we recruited although many people died as a result of it, recruitment was harsh and men could be called any time so in effect men were sitting ducks waiting to die. But some people recruited for the food and little wage although miners were sent back to mine due to low resources.