Nonetheless, there were a number of potential
breaches in Britain's united home front. The breezy optimism of
August 1914 was quickly shattered by the heavy British death toll
on the Western Front and by the fears evoked by German Zeppelin
and other air
raids, which killed more than 2,000 civilians during the war.
Such misfortunes only confirmed the desire of many British people
to prosecute the war against Germany to the bitter end. In others,
however, they engendered more questioning attitudes about how the
war was being run and - in a minority of cases - about the wisdom
of the war itself. Grievances that began to emerge in 1915 included
the looming prospect of conscription, rising food prices and revelations
about war profiteering.
Particularly disturbing for the government was the growth of labour
unrest. In 1917, roughly 200,000 workers in 48 different British
towns went on strike. Their grievances, however, were largely non-political,
relating to such issues as wages, food prices, war profiteering
and exemption from military service. The strikes were rarely characterised
by explicit anti-war or revolutionary sentiments. By the autumn,
they had already passed their peak.