XX CENTURY. Great Britain during World War I Great Britain during World War II The Post-War Period. War and democracy.
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Great Britain during World War I
Great Britain during World War II
The Post-War Period
In 1901 Britain had a constitutional government, but it was not a fully-fledged democracy. In 1918 it became a democracy, with the introduction of universal adult male suffrage and votes for women aged over 30.
Air raid practice, 1918
Although increasing affluence meant that the boundaries of “Household suffrage” were porous, in 1914 Britain had the most restrictive franchise of any power in Europe, with the exception of Hungary. Many of those killed in action in 1914-1918 were fighting for a state that denied them the vote.
William Ewart Gladstone (1809 – 1898) was a British Liberal statesman. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served as Prime Minister four times (1868–1874, 1880–1885, February–July 1886 and 1892–1894), more than any other person.
William Gladstone during a debate on Irish Home Rule in the House of Commons on 8 April 1886. ''Illustrated London News''
The Triple Entente was created in reaction to the forming of the Triple Alliance, and included Britain, France and Russia.
Map of countries in the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance
The implication was that Britain would wage war as a sea power.
A British propaganda postcard from the World War I. The cartoon shows a very elderly German Navy on board a dilapidated warship.
David Lloyd George
As chancellor of the exchequer, Lloyd George struck deals with the labour movement to ensure the provision of skilled workers. As minister of munitions, he converted industry to war production. And as prime minister from December 1916, he committed Britain to a war on both the domestic and fighting fronts.
The war may have reduced debate to slogans, but it also widened the political constituency, and its memory shaped much of the discourse of the succeeding years.
World War I propaganda postcard
The League was an organization that was founded after the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919–1920. It later became the United Nations. At its greatest extent from 28 September 1934 to 23 February 1935, it had 58 members. The League’s primary goals as stated in its Covenant included preventing war through collective security, disarmament, and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration.
Adolf Hitler came to power on a programme to reverse the Versailles Treaty.
January 30th of 1933: Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany.
The Wall Street Crash of 1929 brought worldwide economic collapse.
October 24 1929: People gather on the sub-treasury building steps across from the New York Stock Exchange on Black Thursday. Thousands of investors lost their savings in the stock market crash after a five-day frenzy of heavy trading. Too much speculation with borrowed money had inflated market values unrealistically
Britain found any excuse not to fight a war, though it had reluctantly begun to re-arm.
Neville Chamberlain, empire on his mind, “appeasing” Hitler in 1938.
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill
Churchill was asked by King George VI to form a government as it became clear that Norway was going to fall in May 1940. In his first address to the House of Commons, on May 13, 1940, he said: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” Throughout the war, Churchill’s oratory lifted the nation’s spirits, and his ability to forge a close alliance with the United States was one of key factors in the defeat of Germany.
Residents of Oak Ridge, TN, fill Jackson Square to celebrate the surrender of Japan.
In the 1960s, pop music - not least that of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones - gave Britain a very different feel in the world to that it had enjoyed as the world's predominant empire.
Britain became an active member of international organisations, not least the United Nations.
The official signing ceremony creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on April 4, 1949
The Labour and Conservative parties shared major overlaps in policy.
But there were also major contrasts, particularly between 1979 and 1990 when Margaret Thatcher held power as the country's first female prime minister.
The Conservatives tended to favour individual liberties and low taxation, while Labour preferred collectivist solutions and were therefore happier to advocate a major role for the state.
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. Thatcher is the only woman to have held either post.
Spending became a major expression of identity and indeed a significant activity in leisure time.