The “deluge” of World War I not only produced change within British society, but it intensified governmental and societal interest in the empire. This trend occurred for several reasons. Britain's wartime co-operation with her dominions led many Britons to assume that this new imperial unity could, and should, be cultivated in the post-war period. The imperial pessimism generated in some circles by the tragedy of the Boer War faded from the public's memory. Equally important, however, by 1917 the government was conscious of the serious economic and social problems Britain would confront once victory had been attained. One of several imperial solutions studied extensively during the war was state supported emigration. The government, which since 1914 had played an increasingly prominent role in solving society's problems, believed that emigration would serve a variety of useful purposes. It would alleviate the distress of thousands of British women, it would accelerate the economic and social development of the dominions, and it would strengthen the British Empire, giving it the power and self-assurance necessary to carry out its diplomatic and military roles in the post-war world. During the course of these deliberations during and immediately after World War I, the importance of women to any comprehensive strengthening of the empire was fully accepted by the government for the first time in British history.
The growth of interest in government sponsored imperial migration, including that of women, did not occur, however, in a vacuum. The 1920s and 1930s were, as it is increasingly recognized, “a great age of British Imperialism,” during which the “mass pheonomena of Empire—the Empire Shopping Weeks, the Empire Exhibitions and Empire Day celebrations” became a prominent part of the British social scene.