Philanthropy and Voluntary Action in the First World War: Mobilizing Charity

1st Edition

Peter Grant

Routledge
Published March 5, 2014
Reference - 254 Pages - 18 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9780415704946 - CAT# Y154630
Series: Routledge Studies in Modern British History

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Summary

This book challenges scholarship which presents charity and voluntary activity during World War I as marking a downturn from the high point of the late Victorian period. Charitable donations rose to an all-time peak, and the scope and nature of charitable work shifted decisively. Far more working class activists, especially women, became involved, although there were significant differences between the suburban south and industrial north of England and Scotland. The book also corrects the idea that charitably-minded civilians’ efforts alienated the men at the front, in contrast to the degree of negativity that surrounds much previous work on voluntary action in this period. Far from there being an unbridgeable gap in understanding or empathy between soldiers and civilians, the links were strong, and charitable contributions were enormously important in maintaining troop morale. This bond significantly contributed to the development and maintenance of social capital in Britain, which, in turn, strongly supported the war effort. This work draws on previously unused primary sources, notably those regarding the developing role of the UK’s Director General of Voluntary Organizations and the regulatory legislation of the period.

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