CONSCRIPTION IN WWI
In the first two years of World War I, over three million men volunteered to serve, but after initially high recruitment, the rate began to decline in 1915. This was problematic after significant losses of men in major battles, especially Ypres, Loos and Gallipoli, prompting the government to appoint a Cabinet Committee to address the problem. King George V (1865-1936) made an appeal, with the conservative government supporting “compulsion”, against the Liberal and Labour Party. In August 1915 the Daily Mail began to promote conscription, and openly supported the concept of National Service. Northcliffe’s stance was validated in January 1916, when the Military Service Bill was introduced, meaning single men between 18 and 41 years of age could be called up for service (with a few exceptions). In response to the Military Service Act, both pacifists and absolutists emerged: pacifists believed that killing in combat was wrong, and many joined the armed forces in non-combat capacities; and the absolutists refused to serve at all.
“Is Conscription near?” Daily Mail, 6 Nov. 1914
Dewar, George A. B. “How National Service Could Be Adopted.” Daily Mail, 18 Mar. 1915
“Labour and Service for All.” Daily Mail, 17 Sept. 1915
Special Representative. “Men Escaping Compulsion.” Daily Mail, 26 Jan. 1916