Morale and war weariness

Morale and war weariness

From 1914 to 1918, wartime morale was reflected in the the pages of the Linlithgowshire Gazette and the West Lothian Courier.

In the absence of many private letters or diaries, it’s difficult to judge the state of morale among the Linlithgow population during the First World War.  Local newspapers such as the Linlithgowshire Gazette were censored to some extent, but they provide some indication of how people in West Lothian maintained their resilience during four and a half years of war.

At first there was widespread support of the war, some jingoism, vast numbers of eager volunteers, and enthusiasm for fundraising for the effort among the civilian population.  This lasted until well into 1915, when the reality of war and its losses began to become apparent to the people at home.

Shortages of some foods and of many other everyday goods, combined with the endless petty restriction of the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) combined to cause great irritation and resentment, but despondency does not begin to appear until well into 1916.

By 1917, the talk was no longer of battles and glory but of 'sticking it' and 'holding on'.  There was a fear if Germany was allowed to seek peace before it was utterly crushed, it would result in another war within a few years. 

After the final German push of Spring 1918 was repulsed, there was a tentative hope that the war might be going to end at last, which carried the people through to the Armistice.

The article below looks in greater detail at morale as reflected in the Linlithgowshire Gazette and West Lothian Courier.

More info: 

Grieving parents
Anxiety and often grief was the lot of many parents of sons on active service
Overworked woman
Women were worn out with the constant struggle to feed and clothe their families in the face of worsening shortages.