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The War Machine

Series charting how the First World War affected Britain. With the country unprepared for war, the whole population is enlisted to turn Britain into a war machine.

In the second part of his landmark series on how the First World War affected the lives of the British people, Jeremy Paxman describes the crisis facing the country as it becomes clear it is fatally unprepared to fight a modern industrial war.

Now the whole population is enlisted to turn the country into a war machine; women fill the factories to make bombs and bullets, men are forced to fight at the front, and conscientious objectors are threatened with the firing squad and striking shipbuilders with jail. Even the beer is watered down on government orders.

Britain is having to learn to do as it is told.

1 hour

Clip

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:14

    Dame Ethel Smyth

    The March of The Women

    Conductor: Philip Brunelle. Orchestra: Plymouth Festival Orchestra and Chorus.

Making the series

Making the series
"We think we know what the First World War was about: mud and death, young men needlessly slaughtered by blinkered generals, an entire generation sacrificed. That is only part of the picture, and not all of it true."

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Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Jeremy Paxman
Series Producer Basil Comely
Director Roger Parsons
Director Julian Birkett

Broadcasts

  • Mon 3 Feb 2014 21:00
  • Wed 26 Feb 2014 01:10
  • Wed 26 Feb 2014 02:05
  • Wed 2 Aug 2017 12:00
  • Tue 6 Nov 2018 14:45

Download your free Open University booklet

Download your free Open University booklet

From casualties to commemoration, explore the realities of war with this OU booklet.

Download your free Open University booklet

Download your free Open University booklet

From casualties to commemoration, explore the realities of war with this OU booklet.

World War One at the BBC

World War One at the BBC

New perspectives on the war that changed everything.