Throughout the two decades prior to the Great War, aristocratic life and luxury was in steady decline in the British dominions, as economic historian David Cannadine argues. A war on landowners by the lower classes and a new democratization threatened to end the prestige of families grounded in the aristocracy. As Cannadine noted, “in many parts of the country, tenants turned against their landlords, frequently refused to pay their rents, and stridently demanded an end to the system of great estates.” The question of who was right to command and lead various institutions in British Society would be put to the test throughout the course of the First World War.



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