The First World War was ‘total war' – a war that involved the mobilisation of society and its resources – military, civilian and industrial.
Millions of men were actively involved in the armed services. Many others, including millions of women, contributed to the war effort on the Home Front.
This story mainly focuses on Britain's involvement in the war and looks at how various resources were developed and utilised. It describes the impact of technologies on the war and how these technologies changed during its course.
In this war industrialised nations on both sides fought with technologically advanced, mass-produced weapons. This enabled killing and wounding on an unprecedented scale. Such was the effectiveness of the weaponry that the war soon became one of trench-bound attrition – swallowing up vast amounts of men and materials. Fighting such a war effectively required the appropriate channelling of all resources and innovative responses to new challenges. It also meant the emergence of highly complex, bureaucratised systems of control and administration.