What Effect Did The First World War Have On Suffrage Movement?


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Richard Marsden Profile
Richard Marsden answered
The war had a profound effect on suffrage politics. The declaration of war saw the WSPU declare peace with the Liberal government. There was "no point in continuing to fight for the vote when there might be no country to vote in", Emmeline Pankhurst said.

The WSPU suspended suffragette activities and called upon its membership to support the war effort. The Pankhursts became extremely nationalistic. They saw it in very simple terms – the goodies v the baddies, a battle between enlightened democracy and autocratic militarism. It was feminine Britain versus masculine Germany. The war gave a chance for the WSPU and its members to abandon violent methods, to demonstrate patriotic loyalty and to ultimately deserve the vote. The WSPU placed its organisation and funds at the government's disposal. The government was desperate to recruit women as from 1915 there was a great labour shortage. By February 6th 1918, eight million women were enfranchised.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
The main effect of World War I on the suffrage movement was that "women's contribution to the war effort was seen and appreciated"; instead of being insulted for wanting to take part in government, women were praied for being patriotic. It would have been embarrasing for the British government to turn its back on all women did for Great Britain during the war.

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