Defence of the Realm Act (DORA)

The Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) became law on 8 August 1914. The Act authorised the government to do almost anything it thought was necessary to help the war effort and protect the country.

Examples of DORA laws

No one was allowed to:

  • talk about naval or military matters in public places
  • spread rumours about military matters
  • buy binoculars
  • trespass on railway lines or bridges
  • melt down gold or silver
  • light bonfires or fireworks
  • give bread to horses or chickens
  • use invisible ink when writing abroad

At first, the public accepted the need for increased security and control over areas seen as vital to the war effort. However, as the war went on people objected to the way that DORA undermined their basic freedoms. Most people thought many of the rules were trivial and inconvenient.