Coalition Govt. 1918

View mindmap
  • The Post-War Coalition problems, 1918-22
    • Housing
      • DLG gave the responsibility to Christopher Addison (the minister of health) to provide homes fit for heroes
        • 1919 - Housing and Town Planning Act - aim was to encourage local governments to clear slums and build council houses for the working class
          • By 1922, 200,000 council houses had been built. However, Addison's ministry paid for houses at the rate of £910 per unit, whereas the true building cost was only £385
            • By 1922, government grants for new housing were withdrawn altogether. Due to Addison, shortage of over 800,000  homes
              • Failure, but any real improvements were attributed to the Lab-controlled local councils, responsible for implementing the policy
    • National Insurance
      • Liberals' measure of 1911 only covered 3 million workers.
        • During the war another million munitions workers had been added to this number
          • Between 1920 and 1921, DLG extended the provisions to cover 8 million more workers, 12 million in total
            • Aim was to protect workers against short-term unemployment
    • Post-war industrial problems
      • DLG tried to encourage employers and trade unions to think in terms of conciliation rather than confrontation, but these successes were overshadowed by numerous industrial problems
      • Coal became increasingly difficult to mine profitably - the wartime blockade of Britain had greatly reduced foreign orders, which were not renewed after 1918
      • Mine owners were obstinate and out of touch with the real economic world
      • Mining industry demanded that the industry, which had been brought under govt. control during the war, should not be returned to the owners and should instead be re-nationalised
        • Lloyd George unable to satisfy them on this (Sankey Commission), but did defuse the situation when a general strike seemed likely
      • Post-war recession
      • Britain's inability to cope with the effects of the worldwide industrial slump undermined DLG's promise to workers for a reward for their war effort
        • By 1922, unemployment had risen to over 1 million, inflation had leapt ahead of wage levels, and the existing social services were stretched beyond their capacity
          • Even worse - the economic recession had become so bad that the 'Geddes Axe' was introduced - cuts on education, hospitals and housing
    • The Anglo-Irish question
      • In 1914, the Act granting Home Rule to Ireland had been suspended for the duration of war - shelved the problem until peacetime
        • The Easter Rising, April 1916 - a breakaway group of Irish Nationalists seized the General Post Office in Dublin and posted up a signed proclamation announcing the establishment of the Irish Republic
          • The 7 individuals who had signed the proclamation, plus 8 others, were all tried and shot
            • Asquith turned to DLG to contain the situation (weakness of Asq.) - DLG immediately entered into discussions with Redmond, the Irish Nationalist leader, and Carson, leader of the Ulster Unionists - main aim was to prevent the Irish problem from undermining the war effort
              • DLG's urgency to reach a temporary settlement meant that he gave contradictory promises to Redmond and Carson - persuading them to accept a compromise - the 'Heads of Agreement' - granted immediate Home Rule for the 26 counties of S. Ireland while the Six Counties of Ulster remained part of the UK until after the war when their permanent constitutional status would be decided by an imperial conference
                • DLG convinced Redmond but didn't convince Carson - this didn't matter anyway as when the Heads of Agreement were put to the Coalition Cabinet, the Unionist members refused to ratify it
                  • They said DLG had gone too far to appease Irish Nationalists. Most stubborn opponent = Lord Lansdowne (Cons. leader in HoL) who insisted that the Agreement be modified so as to satisfy Unionist objections
                    • Redmond learned of this, broke off negotiations - Agreement became a dead letter
      • Sinn Fein and the IRA
        • Failure of Heads of Agreement led to extremists arguing that force was the only way to achieve Irish independence
          • In 1917, led by Eamon de Valera, Sinn Fein won 2 by-elections
            • Extremists became even more angry in 1918 when DLG's Coalition attempted to extend conscription to Ireland
              • Sinn Fein won 73 seats in the Coupon Election but refused to take them up at Westminster - instead, in September 1919, it defiantly set up its own Dail Eireann (Irish Parliament) in Dublin
                • In 1919 also, Sinn Fein's military wing, the Irish Volunteers, reformed itself as the Irish Republican Army (IRA), dedicated to guerrilla war against the British forces
                  • IRA activists became so disruptive that in June 1920, DLG sent in the 'Black and Tans' - Irish Nationalists accused him of employing them deliberately to terrorise the civilian population of Ireland
                • Dail prohibited September 1919, increasing violence by IRA
      • Moves towards a political settlement with the Irish
        • Since Britain had pressed for the principle of self-determination (the right of peoples to form a nation and govt. of their own choice) in the Versailles Treaty, it made no sense for Britain to continue to deny that principle to Ireland
          • Plus, Home Rule was law, even though it had not yet been implemented
            • In 1921, DLG and his team of negotiators, including the new Cons. leader, Austen Chamberlain, and Lord Birkenhead, previously one of the strongest opponents of Home Rule. He invited the Irish leaders to discuss the drafting of a treaty of settlement.
              • DLG played upon the idea in the meeting that he was the one who represented the last hope of a just settlement for Ireland - if they couldn't reach an agreement, he would resign, be replaced by Bonar Law whose unyielding resistance over Home Rule would destroy any chance of settlement
                • His argument was persuasive enough that the Irish leaders accepted the appointment of a boundary commission to detach Ulster from the rest of Ireland - before they point blank refused this
                  • DLG was able to convince the Unionists that the rights and independence of Ulster had been safeguarded - essentially the same as in 1916 Heads of Agreement, but this time the Unionists agreed
                    • Anglo-Irish Treaty was the result - 1921. - Southern Ireland was granted independence as the Irish Free State, and most of Ulster remained part of the UK
                      • Why it was a SUCCESS: DLG had the vision, the skill and the luck to find a workable solution to the Anglo-Irish question at last - the scale of the problem that confronted him which he then solved meant that his achievement was immense
                        • Why it was a FAILURE: The treaty was necessarily a compromise. The Unionists were left feeling betrayed by DLG's willingness to give in to what they regarded as republican terrorism. The Nationalists could not forget his use of the Black and Tans, and also saw the Treaty as nothing more than a concession reluctantly and belatedly extracted from a British govt. who granted it only when all other means of maintaining the Union failed.


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Coalition Govt. 1918 resources »