History GCSE / National 5: Rationing, u-boats and the Home Front in WW1

Jeremy Paxman explores how Britain reacted to the campaign by German U-boats to sink merchant shipping and starve the country into submission.

Food was rationed, farming was prioritised and millions of new allotments created.

Hundreds of thousands of new farm workers, made up of women, disabled soldiers and German prisoners of war worked the land.

Paxman visits some allotments in South London that were created in 1917.

There were queues at shops, and we hear about the introduction of rationing for the first time in British history in January 1918.

We see the amount of meat, bacon, margarine and sugar each person was allowed under the rationing system.

Teacher Notes

KS3: Use as a starter to show the effect of the war on civilians. Create a government DORA Defence of the Realm Act leaflet advising civilians of the new laws effecting life as a result of the war.

KS4 GCSE: Use as part of a decision-making exercise. Rationed food items have varying points given to them and pupils have a limited value of points to use. They then must prioritise and balance their use of the points, to achieve a balanced diet.

National 5 / Higher This overall picture of food shortages, rationing and the shared war effort could be used to introduce the Home Front in Scotland. What impact did shortages have on Scotland's rural and urban populations. The clip could also be used as part of a decision making exercise. Rationed food items have varying points given to them and pupils have a limited value of points to use. They then must prioritise and balance their use of the points, to achieve a balanced diet.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching History. This topic appears in at KS3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and OCR, Edexcel, AQA and WJEC/Eduqas GCSE/KS4 in England and Wales and CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland. It also appears in National 5 and Higher in Scotland.

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