Britain 1903-28

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  • Britain 1903-1928
    • The Liberals and Social Reforms
      • 1903
        • Many felt that a woman's place was in the home, not in politics
        • The right to vote had been extended to more men in 1884 and rights and oppourtunities for women we improving
        • Women could not vote in the national elections
          • Campaign for women's suffrage (vote)
            • NUWSS (suffragists): used persuasion and petitions to parliament
              • Speak at public meetings make pamphlets and newspapers etc
              • Ran by Millicent Fawcett
              • Little reaction
              • Peaceful pilgrimage from Carlisle to London
            • WFL: used peaceful protest such as not paying their tax
            • WSPU (suffragettes): used direct protect, including politicians and their property
              • Government reacted by imprisoning suffragettes- however, they often went on hunger strikes meaning that the authorities would force-feed them.
                • Dangerous and painful
                • 'Cat and Mouse Act' allowed the authorities to release ill hunger strikers and re-arrest them when they were fit again
                • Marjorie Dunlop- first women to go on a hunger strike
              • Emily Davison
                • "If this is what an educated women does what might an uneducated woman do?"
                • Martyr
                • Could've been an accident as she bought a return ticket and didn't tell her mum
              • "Deeds not words"
              • Ran by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters, Christabel and Sylvia
                • Syvlia spat and struck a policeman at a liberal party in 1905
          • Some organisations supported this and were against votes for women
            • E.g. Opposing Women's Suffrage and Women's National Anti-Suffrage League
      • 1911 National Insurance Act: Workers, government and employers contributed. Workers were paid 10 shillings a week sick pay when ill. Workers in a few traders could get 7 shillings a week unemployment benefit if out of work. Not all male workers were covered and it didn't apply to women.
      • 1903 Labour Exchange: The unemployed registered here to find work. Helped employers find workers.
      • Following the 1906 elections, the new Liberal government brought in major social reforms. This was because the government in 1900 did very little to help the poor
        • Old Age Pensions Act (1908): Small pensions were paid to people: over 70 and to those earning less than £31 per year. This only helped the very poorest but was very popular
        • School Meals Act (1906): Schools provided free school meals
        • Children's Charter (1908): Protection from neglect. No fireworks, tobacco or alcohol. Juvenile courts and borstals rather than adult prisons
        • Medical Inspections (1907): Schools provided free medical inspections so illnesses could be identified and treated.
    • The part played by the British on the Western Front
      • British Expeditionary Force
        • Sent to France in August 1914
        • Schlieffen Plan- German tactics to attack France through Belgium avoiding the heavily defended French-German border
          • Took longer than planned to get through Belgium
            • BEF had been dispatched to help France and Belgium
              • Germans had been halted at the Battle of the Marne
                • Schlieffen plan had failed
              • BEF were extremely trained and although were outnumbered were much better and more accurate
      • LOOK AT TIMELINE: EVENTS ON 1914
      • Trench Warfare
        • Lines of trenches defended by barbed wire and machine guns
        • Attacks were costly in men and rarely achieved a breakthrough
          • Both sides settled for attrition: making the enemy lose more men and equipment than you lost
        • Battle of the Somme (1916)
          • Planned as a seven day breakthrough with artillery bombardment that would destroy German defences, but the Germans had sheltered in deep dugouts.
            • German machine guns killed 20,000 British troops on the first day of the battle. By mid-November 1916, 420,000 British soldiers had died and the Allies had only advanced 5 miles.
          • Commanded by General Haig. Failure meant that he was criticised after his death as 'the Butcher of the Somme'.
        • New Weapons and Methods
          • Poison Gas: however gas masks were effective and the gas could drift to your own side
          • Tanks: machine-gun proof but often broke down
          • Creeping Barrage: artillery shelled ahead of the advancing infantry but hard not to kill your own troops
        • Conditions were cold, muddy, wet, cramped and resulted in diseases like trench foot.
      • USA joined the war in 1917 and so the Germany knew defeat was likely
        • The war ended on the 11th November 1918 at 11 o'clock
        • General Ludendorff launched a massive offensive in March 1918- it was a last gamble. It almost succeeded as the British troops were heavily involve in defending the Front and the allied lines were pushed back BUT the Germans were short on supplies and reinforcements and in June 1917 US troops started to arrive and in July 1918 the Allies counter-attacked.
    • The home front and social change
      • Defence of Realm Act (DORA) 1914
        • Gave the government the power to introduce rationing
          • Both Britain and German used their navies to blockade ports and stop supplies getting through. Furthermore German U-Boats got very good at sinking merchant ships. As British farmers could not grow enough food to support the whole country rationing was introduced.
            • In 1917 food rationing was voluntary
            • In 1918 the government had to make rationing compulsory for foods like sugar, meat and butter.
          • Rationing, growing more food and successful tactics against U-Boats (convoy systems)  meant no one starved
        • Control over key industries so production could be focused on war needs
        • Censorship: prevent damage to war effort and morale
        • Control over people: activities that might damage the war effort were restricted
        • Propaganda encouraged recruitment and boosted morale
      • Recruitment and Conscription
        • Although at first young men were keen to sign up and do their bit (Pals Batallions helped to encourage this) but huge losses meant recruitment dwindled.
        • The Derby Scheme asked men to promise to serve if asked- but less than half agreed
        • -January 1916: all single men aged 18-41 could be called up.      -May 1916: married men, 18-41called up
        • Conscientious Objectors refused to fight. Tribunals often gave them non-combatant roles. Absolutists refused these and were jailed. Popular opinion was strongly against "conshies"
      • Women and the War Effort
        • Suffragettes organised a 'Right to Serve' demonstration in 1915
          • As well as working as office and transport jobs and working in the Women's Land Army women took on jobs in heavy industry, including making armaments.
        • Loss of men at the Front and the introduction of conscription increased the need for women to take on men's jobs
          • As well as working as office and transport jobs and working in the Women's Land Army women took on jobs in heavy industry, including making armaments.
        • By the end of the war, almost 800,000 women were working in engineering
        • From 1917, women could work in the armed forced and about 100,000 did so
        • After the war men took the jobs back but women got the vote, partly in recognition of war service
    • Economic and Social Change (1919-28)
      • The changing role of women
        • After the war, the political position of women improved: Women over 30 got the vote in 1918, this was extended to women over 21 in 1928. Also women could become MP's as of 1918.
        • However, their economic and social role did not change; women were expected to give up their jobs when men came home and most girls left school at 14.
        • In 1911 35% of all women had jobs (only 10% of married women), by 1931 this was 34% of all women
      • Industrial Unrest
        • Trade union membership doubled during the war
        • When war ended, strikes broke out again and many more workers joined trade unions
          • The General Strike (4-12 May 1926)
            • Government actions include: propaganda against strike; remained strong and refused to negotiate; protected food supplies; stockpiled coal supplies; spent £433million combatting the strike; prepared volunteers to take work of strikers
              • Big drop in moral for unions
              • Coalminers stayed on strike with great suffering. Those that got their jobs back had lower pay and longer hours
              • Trades Disputes and Trade Union Act (1927) banned sympathy strikes
              • TUC called off the strike because there was: a strong government response, a fear of violence and a shortage of funds.
                • Other reasons it failed include: hot weather (so coal was low in demand); lack of support from middle class; army supported the government; violent riots= lost support; catholic church saw strikes as a sin
            • The Samuel Commission Report (1926)
              • -No increase in the working day, -Wages should be cut, -Mine owners must modernise pits
                • LOOK AT UNREST IN MINING TIMELINE
        • Heavy industries boosted during the war but after it, it slumped and unemployment rose
        • Before the war there was industrial action across the country but it was largely unsuccessful as they was no coordination and therefore did not make as much of an effect.
        • Triple Alliance: miners, railyway men and transport workers.

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