University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

To What Extent do the Tactics Employed to Circumvent Rationing Compromise the Myth of the ‘People’s War’?

King, Elspeth (2018) To What Extent do the Tactics Employed to Circumvent Rationing Compromise the Myth of the ‘People’s War’? PhD thesis, University of Worcester.

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In popular mythology and much historical writing, until comparatively recently most accounts of rationing and consumption in the Second World War suggest that life on the
British Home Front was one of equal sacrifice and the sharing of limited resources in what is often referred to as the ‘People’s War’. This thesis follows more recent historiography in challenging this orthodoxy and argues that in an ever-changing Home Front landscape, the idea of the Second World War as being a ‘People’s War’ is misconstrued.
By drawing upon multiple and disparate sources including autobiography, memoirs, diaries, media, mass observation archives, memories and oral histories, it interrogates
the impact of rationing on the everyday lives of different social classes and groups. By focussing on the shortages around clothes, fuel and household goods, it demonstrates
that the lived experience of people and households during wartime differed significantly according to their social class. It suggests contrary to the messages in government
propaganda and popular media, social divisions did not slip away, but for some became more entrenched. Those with financial and time resources coped with these areas of
rationing by employing a variety of tactics to circumvent the worst of its privations, whilst still endeavouring to keep a semblance of class and self-identity. Alternatively, for those at the bottom of society, the ‘submerged tenth’, war meant very little change in their austere and precarious social circumstances.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:

University of Worcester. A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the University’s requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 2018.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Second World War, 'The People's War', rationing, consumption, Home Front, class, social divisions, propaganda
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D731 World War II
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Humanities
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Depositing User: Elspeth King
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2020 09:55
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2020 17:14

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