The "Recruiting Muddle": Married Men, Conscription and Masculinity in First World War England

TitleThe "Recruiting Muddle": Married Men, Conscription and Masculinity in First World War England
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsUgolini, Laura
JournalFirst World War Studies
Volume9
Issue1
Pagination73 - 92
Date Published03/2018
Abstract

Historians have long recognized the powerful pull of military masculinities during the First World War, as well as the denigration of civilian men and masculinities, this article suggests that the wartime experiences of married men like Mary Morton's father complicate this picture of hegemonic and subordinate masculinities. Men, it was widely agreed in the early years of the conflict, had responsibilities that tied them to the home front; it was unmarried men's duty to "go first". In May 1916, however, the pressing need for military manpower led to the introduction of conscription for all men, without reference to marital status. This article explores the underlying shift in understandings of manly conduct in wartime, from a belief that married men had responsibilities that kept them from enlisting, to a new emphasis on the equality of duty among all physically fit men of military age, irrespective of domestic responsibilities. [Taylor & Francis Online]

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