History KS3 / KS4: How did Britain meet demands for weapon production in World War One

World War One was costing the equivalent of £20 million an hour in today's money, on transport, supplies and weapons.

Machine guns were firing more bullets than could be made to supply them.

Britain had enough guns but was struggling to meet demand for bullets and shells.

In 1915 the government created a munitions ministry.

2 million artillery shells were needed per week, but only 11,000 were being produced.

New munitions factories were quickly opened.

Saul David visits the remains of an explosives factory at Holton Heath where 5,000 people were employed to make cordite.

Chaim Weizmann found new ways of producing acetone from conkers to help with production, which by 1917 succeeded in supplying 15 million shells a year to the front line.

Teacher Notes

Key Stage 3 / Key Stage 4

Students could be shown a picture of a flooded trench in World War One.

In pairs they could annotate the picture using their prior knowledge of trench design to explain the possible causes of the flooding and why conditions were so poor.

Then they could add ideas about how soldiers could best look after themselves in such conditions.

Then when they have watched the clip they could add further ideas to the picture to explain what soldiers actually did to try and protect themselves.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching History at KS3 and KS4/GCSE in England Wales and Northern Ireland.

Also at 3rd Level, 4th Level, National 4/National 5 and Higher in Scotland.