The Daylight Savings Time Movement

Daylight saving was a logical policy to manipulate the fruits of nature. Yet, as Oliver B. Pollak explains, it was opposed by farmers, trivialised by politicians, and not adopted until the First World War made it imperative to national survival.

A US poster from 1918

The legislative enactment of Daylight Savings Time was a political act that had substantial impact on social history. The origin of the Act stemmed from the nineteenth-century demand for industrial time-keeping efficiency and the concern for 'physical deterioration' evoked by the Anglo-Boer War. It was implemented in 1916 as a wartime emergency fuel conservation measure. Despite its significance in the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people it was treated trivially by Parliament and other legislative bodies as well as by historians. Daylight Savings was a logical policy to manipulate the fruits of nature. However, it created strains between various economic interests and between rural and urban territorial interests. Its introduction was often badly handled and misunderstood.

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