Mobilization through faith: the religious reaction to the First World War in the United Kingdom through the national and local press.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelBachelors with Honours
Degree NameBachelor of Arts (Hons)
This thesis examines the reactions to the First World War by the churches of the United Kingdom through the use of published newspapers. In the past there has been a lack of focus on the role religion played throughout the war, but its importance to daily life during this period makes it a significant aspect to understanding British wartime spirit. The terms used by the clergy that were documented in the press reveal how religion sought to justify the conflict and make the Church relevant in a period where institutionalized religion was in decline. Scholars have had an increasing interest in the theological framing of the First World War, and it has been portrayed as a religious battle by historians Philip Jenkins and Albert Marrin. Especially in the period surrounding August 4, the anniversary of Britain’s entrance into the war, clergy made their opinions heard, whether through direct publication or the documentation of sermons given at war intercession services around the United Kingdom. Despite denominational differences, these men espoused similar themes that sought to capitalize on the religious understanding most people had and insert the Church back into a position of public dominance.