Red Clydeside: A history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932


Cartoon entitled 'Death and the profit = ghouls', 8 Aug 1914

image from Red Clydeside collection

The cartoon highlights the anger felt by many British socialists at the huge profits being made by industrialists involved in the production of weapons and ammunition used to destroy whole countries and kill hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

The issue of war time profiteering by industrial concerns involved in the production of armaments loomed large on the agenda of the British left during the first year or so of the war until government introduced legislation which prevented companies from making excessive profits from government orders for armaments.

Some companies from the outset made it policy to donate any profits made from government armaments orders to medical and discharged soldiers charities, Weirs of Cathcart in Glasgow being such a company. The directors of Weirs considered themselves to be performing a public duty at a time of national peril and rejected out of hand the notion that money should be made from such a situation.

Source: Gallacher Memorial Library, Glasgow Caledonian University Special Collections and Archives