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Pubs and PatriotsThe Drink Crisis in Britain during World War One$
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Robert Duncan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318955

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846318955.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 16 September 2021

Vodka, Absinthe and Drunkenness on Britain’s Streets in 1914: A Tale of Fear and Exaggeration?

Vodka, Absinthe and Drunkenness on Britain’s Streets in 1914: A Tale of Fear and Exaggeration?

Chapter:
(p.39) Chapter Two Vodka, Absinthe and Drunkenness on Britain’s Streets in 1914: A Tale of Fear and Exaggeration?
Source:
Pubs and Patriots
Author(s):

Robert Duncan

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781846318955.003.0002

The first six months of the war laid the basis for the moral panic over Britain’s drinking during wartime. Action taken in France and Russia to prohibit the sale and consumption of absinthe and vodka respectively seemed to emphasise that continued drinking in Britain was unacceptable. Stories concerning drunkenness in Britain’s cities and soldiers vomiting on the streets of Britain ran in national newspapers causing a flurry of anxious commentaries about the fate befalling the country. Workers bore the brunt of these criticisms and drinking became less socially acceptable. This chapter discusses how anti drink protests grew in popularity and how this anxiety manifested itself in Britain in the early days of the war. The communal response to drinking will be evaluated in the context of the comparisons made between the abstinence efforts made by both France and Russia and how this affected societal anxiety over the problem. It will be argued that the portrayal of the drink problem relied upon emerging totems of moral panic, such as ‘the drunken soldier’, and led to widespread fear mongering and the perception of a national crisis during these months.

Keywords:   Drink, Russia, France, Lloyd George, Vodka, Absinthe, Brewers, Social Reform

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