All quiet on the home front? : the impact of the Second World War on the township of Mosgiel
The Second World War proved a momentous time for those living in New Zealand. Life for civilians on the home front was affected to a much greater extent than it had been in 1914-18. This heightened 'total war' prompted many changes to the lifestyles and living conditions of New Zealanders. To manage the national demands of this conflict, Peter Fraser's Labour government took firm control of the society and economy. As the War situation required, it implemented various bureaucratic measures such as rationing, industrial manpower regulations, a blackout and other civil defence measures. As well as these rules and regulations, citizens faced the problem of shortages, the uncertainty of loved ones overseas and the alarming progress of the Japanese in the Pacific. The War, then, impacted on people and communities across the country. Even the isolated south of the South Island, far from most of the country's main war efforts, could not escape the effects wrought from this conflict. Little research, however, has been done on this exciting and vibrant period of New Zealand history. Thus, to test the extent of the impact, this thesis focuses on the southern township of Mosgiel. In 1939, Mosgie1 was a town of just over two thousand inhabitants, situated at the northern foothills of the Taieri Plains, a short drive from Dunedin. It felt the pressure of war in the same ways as other towns, yet perhaps because of its small size, close community and southern isolation, it appears to have fared better than many. The chapters follow a logical path, dealing with each of the main aspects of Mosgiel society and economy, assessing each to determine the War's effects. Although it had a nearby military presence, formed both a Home Guard and an Emergency Precautions Organization, endured rationing, shortages, a blackout, manpowering and disruption to its businesses and workforce the community was able to adapt to, or deflect, many of the negative effects of the conflict. In the end, the overall impact of the War proved limited.
Advisor: Omer-Cooper, John; Brooking, Tom
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: History
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis